Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Weather Extremes in New Zealand

The United Nations has proclaimed year 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth after keen the impact of climate change on the environment has become a critical concern for nation around the world.
New Zealand Post committed to support the exploring ways to minimise its impact on the environment. Therefore they issued a series of stamp as part of that commitment, highlighting New Zealand’s own weather extremes on March 2008. Each of the stamps in the issue focus on different elements of New Zealand’s weather extremes.
The 50c stamp shown Drought.
Drought can have a devastating impact on New Zealand’s economic wellbeing through its effect on the agricultural industry. The image on the first of 50c stamps is taken from 1997/1998 El Nino drought which was estimated to have resulted in an economic impact in the order of one billion dollars.

The 50c stamp shown – Wind.
New Zealand’s mountain ranges block the westerly wind in some places and channel them in others. In some places the wind is strong enough to be harnessed to provide energy, the two largest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere are located in the North Islands Wanganui/Manawatu District.
The second of 50c stamp feature pedestrians in Wyndham Street, Auckland batting a strong westerly gale in March 2007. The high wind resulted in many fallen trees and branches, along with property damage and power outages. The highest gust was measured at 150 kilometres per hour.
The $ 1.00 stamp shown – Storm.
The worst storms to affect New Zealand develop from remains of tropical cyclones, which can evolve into exceptional mild latitude depressions.
The $1.0 stamp shown waves pummelling Wellington’s Evans Bay in January 2011 reached storm force and made life very difficult for yachts in the round the world BT Challenge entering Wellington Harbour The storm broke boat moorings and made it almost impossible for motorcyclists and cars towing trailer.
The $ 1.50 stamp shown – Flooding.
Most areas of New Zealand have between 600 – 1600 mm of rainfall a year. Thunderstorms can bring rainfall intensities of up to 100 millimetres an hou. Torrential downpours like the usually only affect small areas for a short time, but they can follow one after the other over the same location, causing catastrophic flooding.
The stamp shown stock above the floodwater on farm land at Hikurangi, north-west of Whangarei. Two months worth of rain fell in less than a day, which resulted in more flooding on the Hikurangi Swamp than during Cyclone Bola in the late80’s, and was said to be one of the heaviest storms in 50 years.
The $2.00 stamp shown – Snow storm.
Snowflakes begin to develop when molecules of water attach to microscopic particles of clay or bacteria suspended in the air. At temperatures below minus 10 degree Celsius, more water molecules follow and tiny ice crystals form, growing to make snowflakes that fall as they grow larger. Most snow in New Zealand falls in the mountain areas, although the east and south of the South Island often experience snow in winter.
The stamp shown Ohai, Southland during a snow storm in May 2001. Snow fell to unusually low levels in some parts, which Invercargill recording a maximum of only 4 degree Celsius. Many schools were closed and numerous vehicle accidents occurred in the treacherous conditions.
The $2.50 stamp shown – Heat.
The South Islnad’s eastern areas have the the hottest weather in New Zealand, with summer daytime temperatures occasionally reaching 40 degree Celsius or more. This scorching heat can be attributed to the intense summer sunlight heating the land and the westerly winds warning as they blow down from the mountains lying to the west.
The stamp shown the situation at Matarangi beach, Coromandel under temperature ranging between 24 till 31 degree Celsius during summer and having arguably some country’s best weather, Coromandel is known for its great beaches and fishing.
As the climate warms, New Zealand is expected to experience more weather extremes. They will reach into all aspects of life in this country. The First Day Cover highlights the weather extremes in one place, displaying all six stamps and their dramatic images.

1 comment:

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