Kate Bailey, Ireland | WWF

Kate Bailey, Ireland

Posted on
16 August 2009
I am living in Ireland now, but used to live in the South Island of New Zealand. In the 90's I moved up to Auckland, in the North Island, for a period of five years. Upon returning home to Christchurch, I felt that a definite change had taken place with regard to both seasonality and climate. While everyone seems to remember their childhood years as having 'better weather', from my own memories observations, and conversations with others - things were quite different. Christchurch is close to the Southern Alps which contains a number of skifields. There was an ever-growing trend towards snow-making, against a background of ever-decreasing natural snowfall, which started appearing later and later each year - if at all. Similarly, the warm weather that was traditionally associated with the NZ Christmas/summer school break has definitely become a thing of the past. Rather than stable high-pressure systems resulting in weeks of warm blue skies, December has now become a notably bad time to holiday, with most people now preferring to wait until January or February for some hope of prolonged fine weather, minus grey skies and drizzling rain. The other phenomena is an increasing number of wild electrical storms in mid-to-late summer - huge fronts containing vicious barrages of hail, violent, almost monsoonal cloud bursts. For the first time in my personal memory, roofs at two of my houses and those of my friend's were compromised by these drastic weather events which did not seem to be a feature of my childhood years. Indeed, I cannot recall a single similar episode during my childhood Christchurch summers; and now there seems to be at least event per year.