A review of topoclimatology in New Zealand | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

A review of topoclimatology in New Zealand

B. B. Fitzharris

Because New Zealand is such a hilly country it contains a wide range of topoclimates but these have received surprisingly little attention. Development of horticulture, continued hydroelectric power developments, irrigation planning, large industrial proposals, and investigations into local air pollution problems have stimulated interest in topoclimates. Studies which examine the spatial variation of climate by using the network of climate stations in New Zealand are reviewed, but it is concluded that these give only a general indication of topoclimates. Some papers attempt to fill in the gaps between climate stations with temporary special purpose measurements, or by finding relationships that allow mapping. The main topics discussed in the New Zealand literature are local airflows, wind and shelter, growing degree days, effectiveness of various frost fighting techniques, measurement of vertical temperature structure of the boundary layer, and winter chill units. Unlike the case for other natural resources, such as soils, there is no systematic programme for the mapping of topoclimates at scales that might be useful to horticulture.

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