Weather in New Zealand

New Zealand weather produces some interesting and sometimes beautiful cloud formations and we've found some images of these to share with you. For example, people living in the North Island town of Palmerston North saw this strange cloud formation when they looked out of their windows today. For those who are interested, we also have scientific explanations that explains how they are formed.
New Zealand Weather Clouds


Roys Peak, Wanaka - See also New Zealand Trip, An Adventure to Roy's Peak, Wanaka

clouds-zqn.jpg#asset:5332:urlQueenstown Region


Taken last night 18-Feb-17 by Lee in Wellington


Slightly menacing clouds at Aoraki/Mt Cook

We don't even pretend to understand the following explanation of the Palmerston North cloud formation, but we're sure it will make sense to the more scientific-minded among us.

Explanation for Palmerston North Cloud Phenomena

The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability results from a turbulence of two air layers lying close to each other, which move with different speed and/or direction.

It can be assumed that due to the friction force between two air masses, which move with different speed, one (or several) irregularity in the form of penetration of a layer in the other one develops. The penetration can be observed in the form of wave or hill.

Because of the continuous of the air flow, an air element, which is close to some air barrier, moves around it faster than another one, which is more far from the border of air masses.  According to Bernoulli's Principle the pressure beside an air layer with the higher wind velocity is smaller than in the environment. Consequently there is a force, which pulls the barrier shape (wave comb or hill summit) in the direction of the faster air flow. Close to a wave trough (or a “valley”), air flows more slowly than in the environment, and therefore the ambient pressure is locally higher. This area will be pressed in the opposite direction.

The Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is rarely observed in large air masses.  At most they can be observed over the Southern Hemisphere, where the extra-tropical cyclones have obviously more place and larger speed in comparing to environment.

Well we tried to warn you :)

As you will see from these examples, the photos you take on your New Zealand self drive vacation will without doubt be one of the highlights of your visit.

Lindsay Barron

Lindsay Barron • Feb 19, 2017