Soil Moisture Levels Near Field Capacity

Posted By HBFA | July 18, 2021

Dr Kathleen Kozyniak
ncipal Scientist Air
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

June’s weather was just what the doctor ordered.  All areas of the region received near or above average rainfall for the month along with impressive temperatures 1.5-2.5 °C above average. Grass growth staged a late rally due to the warm, wet combo – and it was sorely needed after six months of below normal rainfall across the parched Heretaunga and Ruataniwha Plains and south coast.

Most of our river flows were within the normal range for June and it was great to see soil moisture levels bound upwards to field capacity.  Groundwater levels still dragged the chain at below normal levels but hopefully the good June rainfall filters through and soon fixes that.  Soil temperatures spent most of the month in double figures but dipped a little below 10 °C to close out the month.

We currently have neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation conditions, which may persist for the rest of 2021 but there is speculation that a La Niña might reemerge later in the year.  We learned from last summer that a La Niña doesn’t preclude drought, though typically we expect warmer, wetter conditions brought to us on a northeasterly flow.  It’s possible too that we’ll have a negative Indian Ocean Dipole for spring, which is another circulation pattern that can influence the region’s rainfall.  The negative mode enhances the likelihood of good spring rain.  Forecasts for the next few months are for northeasterlies to regularly feature and rainfall and temperatures to be near or above average as a result. Sadly we’ll still have to brave the occasional, wintery, southerly blast.

Percentage of Normal Rainfall


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