Marlborough basks in May's sunshine


May was drier, sunnier, and warmer than average in Marlborough, weather data shows.

Plant & Food scientist Rob Agnew said information collected from the Blenheim Meteorological station at the Grovetown Park campus of the Marlborough Research Centre also showed the five months of this year were just under the long-term average of sunshine hours, 5.5 hours less than 1063.7 hours.

May was the ninth sunniest since records began 85 years ago, and the second driest, Agnew said.

Rainfall was only 25 per cent of the long-term average for May of 64 millimetres, and the low rainfall last month was in marked contrast to 149.8mm recorded in April, the month before.

The average soil moisture in the topsoil, at depths from zero to 35 centimetres, at the Grovetown Park weather station site was 35 per cent for May, Agnew said. This was above the average for May recorded over the past 11 years from 2003 to 2013 of 31.8 per cent.

"However, the fact that the soil moisture was above average was largely as a result of the high rainfall in April. High soil moisture in April was carried over into May."

The mean temperature for May of 11.8 degrees Celsius was 0.7C above the long-term average temperature for May of 11.1C, and Agnew said the 30cm soil temperature was 13.0C on 1 May, well above the May average. The soil temperature stayed up for most of the month, he said, until the first ground frost on 27 May caused the 30cm soil temperature to drop by 2C.

May had two ground frosts and one air frost, with the coldest morning recorded on the 27th, with an air frost of -0.8C and a ground frost of -4.7C.

May was windier than the long-term average of 215.5 km, recording an average of 236.6 km of daily wind run.

Agnew said the seven days from May 22 to 28 was very windy with average daily wind-run of 402.8 km, 187 per cent of the average.

It was the windiest May since 2007, he said.

The Marlborough Express