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Average Weather in Christchurch New Zealand

In Christchurch, the summers are comfortable, the winters are cold and windy, and it is partly cloudy year round. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 37°F to 71°F and is rarely below 30°F or above 81°F.

Based on the tourism score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for warm-weather activities is from early January to late February.

Climate Summary

comfortablecoolcoldcoolJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecNowNow61%61%51%51%clearovercastprecipitation: 2.3 inprecipitation: 2.3 in1.8 in1.8 inmuggy: 0%muggy: 0%0%0%drydrytourism score: 5.3tourism score: 5.30.20.2
Click on each chart for more information.

Temperature

The warm season lasts for 3.4 months, from December 3 to March 15, with an average daily high temperature above 67°F. The hottest day of the year is January 17, with an average high of 71°F and low of 55°F.

The cool season lasts for 3.0 months, from May 28 to August 29, with an average daily high temperature below 55°F. The coldest day of the year is June 30, with an average low of 37°F and high of 51°F.

Average High and Low Temperature

The daily average high (red line) and low (blue line) temperature, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted lines are the corresponding average perceived temperatures.

The figure below shows you a compact characterization of the entire year of hourly average temperatures. The horizontal axis is the day of the year, the vertical axis is the hour of the day, and the color is the average temperature for that hour and day.

Average Hourly Temperature

Average Hourly Temperature in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec12 AM4 AM8 AM12 PM4 PM8 PM12 AMNowNowvery coldvery coldcoldcoolcoolcomfortable
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The average hourly temperature, color coded into bands. The shaded overlays indicate night and civil twilight.

Tillamook, Oregon, United States (7,285 miles away); La Ensenada, Chile (5,327 miles); and As Pontes de García Rodríguez, Spain (12,425 miles) are the far-away foreign places with temperatures most similar to Christchurch (view comparison).

Clouds

On March 4, the clearest day of the year, the sky is clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 61% of the time, and overcast or mostly cloudy 39% of the time.

On July 4, the cloudiest day of the year, the sky is overcast or mostly cloudy 49% of the time, and clear, mostly clear, or partly cloudy 51% of the time.

Cloud Cover Categories

Cloud Cover Categories in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%Mar 461%Mar 461%Jul 451%Jul 451%NowNowclearmostly clearpartly cloudymostly cloudyovercast
0% clear 20% mostly clear 40% partly cloudy 60% mostly cloudy 80% overcast 100%
The percentage of time spent in each cloud cover band, categorized by the percentage of the sky covered by clouds.

Precipitation

Christchurch does not experience significant seasonal variation in the frequency of wet days (i.e., those with greater than 0.04 inches of liquid or liquid-equivalent precipitation). The frequency ranges from 22% to 32%, with an average value of 27%.

Among wet days, we distinguish between those that experience rain alone, snow alone, or a mixture of the two. Based on this categorization, the most common form of precipitation throughout the year is rain alone, with a peak probability of 32% on December 19.

Daily Chance of Precipitation

Daily Chance of Precipitation in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Dec 1932%Dec 1932%Feb 1122%Feb 1122%May 2827%May 2827%NowNowrain
The percentage of days in which various types of precipitation are observed, excluding trace quantities: rain alone, snow alone, and mixed (both rain and snow fell in the same day).

Rainfall

To show variation within the months and not just the monthly totals, we show the rainfall accumulated over a sliding 31-day period centered around each day of the year. Christchurch experiences some seasonal variation in monthly rainfall.

Rain falls throughout the year in Christchurch. The most rain falls during the 31 days centered around June 14, with an average total accumulation of 2.3 inches.

The least rain falls around April 1, with an average total accumulation of 1.8 inches.

Average Monthly Rainfall

The average rainfall (solid line) accumulated over the course of a sliding 31-day period centered on the day in question, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands. The thin dotted line is the corresponding average liquid-equivalent snowfall.

Sun

The length of the day in Christchurch varies significantly over the course of the year. In 2020, the shortest day is June 21, with 8 hours, 56 minutes of daylight; the longest day is December 21, with 15 hours, 26 minutes of daylight.

Hours of Daylight and Twilight

Hours of Daylight and Twilight in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 hr24 hr4 hr20 hr8 hr16 hr12 hr12 hr16 hr8 hr20 hr4 hr24 hr0 hr12 hr, 7 minSep 2312 hr, 7 minSep 2315 hr, 26 minDec 2115 hr, 26 minDec 2112 hr, 9 minMar 2012 hr, 9 minMar 208 hr, 56 minJun 218 hr, 56 minJun 21daydaynightNowNow
The number of hours during which the Sun is visible (black line). From bottom (most yellow) to top (most gray), the color bands indicate: full daylight, twilight (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and full night.

The earliest sunrise is at 5:41 AM on December 10, and the latest sunrise is 2 hours, 22 minutes later at 8:03 AM on June 28. The earliest sunset is at 4:58 PM on June 14, and the latest sunset is 4 hours, 15 minutes later at 9:13 PM on January 3.

Daylight saving time (DST) is observed in Christchurch during 2020, starting in the spring on September 27 and ending in the fall on April 5.

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time

Sunrise & Sunset with Twilight and Daylight Saving Time in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec2 AM4 AM6 AM8 AM10 AM12 PM2 PM4 PM6 PM8 PM10 PM12 AMDec 105:41 AMDec 105:41 AM9:13 PMJan 39:13 PMJan 3Jun 144:58 PMJun 144:58 PM8:03 AMJun 288:03 AMJun 28DSTApr 5DSTApr 5Sep 27DSTSep 27DSTdaynightnightSolarMidnightSolarMidnightSolarNoonSunriseSunset
The solar day over the course of the year 2020. From bottom to top, the black lines are the previous solar midnight, sunrise, solar noon, sunset, and the next solar midnight. The day, twilights (civil, nautical, and astronomical), and night are indicated by the color bands from yellow to gray. The transitions to and from daylight saving time are indicated by the 'DST' labels.

Humidity

We base the humidity comfort level on the dew point, as it determines whether perspiration will evaporate from the skin, thereby cooling the body. Lower dew points feel drier and higher dew points feel more humid. Unlike temperature, which typically varies significantly between night and day, dew point tends to change more slowly, so while the temperature may drop at night, a muggy day is typically followed by a muggy night.

The perceived humidity level in Christchurch, as measured by the percentage of time in which the humidity comfort level is muggy, oppressive, or miserable, does not vary significantly over the course of the year, remaining a virtually constant 0% throughout.

Humidity Comfort Levels

Humidity Comfort Levels in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%Jul 280%Jul 280%Jan 270%Jan 270%NowNowcomfortablecomfortabledrydryhumidhumid
dry 55°F comfortable 60°F humid 65°F muggy 70°F oppressive 75°F miserable
The percentage of time spent at various humidity comfort levels, categorized by dew point.

Wind

This section discusses the wide-area hourly average wind vector (speed and direction) at 10 meters above the ground. The wind experienced at any given location is highly dependent on local topography and other factors, and instantaneous wind speed and direction vary more widely than hourly averages.

The average hourly wind speed in Christchurch experiences mild seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The windier part of the year lasts for 6.1 months, from September 15 to March 17, with average wind speeds of more than 10.2 miles per hour. The windiest day of the year is December 25, with an average hourly wind speed of 11.1 miles per hour.

The calmer time of year lasts for 5.9 months, from March 17 to September 15. The calmest day of the year is April 24, with an average hourly wind speed of 9.2 miles per hour.

Average Wind Speed

Average Wind Speed in ChristchurchwindywindyJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 mph2 mph4 mph6 mph8 mph10 mph12 mph14 mph16 mph18 mphDec 2511.1 mphDec 2511.1 mphApr 249.2 mphApr 249.2 mphSep 1510.2 mphSep 1510.2 mphNowNow
The average of mean hourly wind speeds (dark gray line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

The predominant average hourly wind direction in Christchurch varies throughout the year.

The wind is most often from the east for 2.9 weeks, from January 28 to February 17, with a peak percentage of 29% on February 7. The wind is most often from the north for 2.4 months, from February 17 to April 28; for 2.1 weeks, from September 2 to September 17; and for 3.5 months, from October 12 to January 28, with a peak percentage of 33% on September 14. The wind is most often from the west for 4.1 months, from April 28 to September 2 and for 3.6 weeks, from September 17 to October 12, with a peak percentage of 41% on June 11.

Wind Direction

Wind Direction in ChristchurchNENWNWNJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%20%80%40%60%60%40%80%20%100%0%NowNowwestsouthnortheast
northeastsouthwest
The percentage of hours in which the mean wind direction is from each of the four cardinal wind directions, excluding hours in which the mean wind speed is less than 1.0 mph. The lightly tinted areas at the boundaries are the percentage of hours spent in the implied intermediate directions (northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest).

Water Temperature

Christchurch is located near a large body of water (e.g., ocean, sea, or large lake). This section reports on the wide-area average surface temperature of that water.

The average water temperature experiences some seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The time of year with warmer water lasts for 3.3 months, from December 21 to March 30, with an average temperature above 59°F. The day of the year with the warmest water is February 13, with an average temperature of 62°F.

The time of year with cooler water lasts for 3.4 months, from June 16 to September 28, with an average temperature below 51°F. The day of the year with the coolest water is August 6, with an average temperature of 48°F.

Average Water Temperature

The daily average water temperature (purple line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Best Time of Year to Visit

To characterize how pleasant the weather is in Christchurch throughout the year, we compute two travel scores.

The tourism score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for general outdoor tourist activities is from early January to late February, with a peak score in the first week of February.

Tourism Score

Tourism Score in Christchurchbest timeJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468105.35.30.20.2NowNow precipitationprecipitationcloudscloudstemperaturetemperaturetourism score
The tourism score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

The beach/pool score favors clear, rainless days with perceived temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. Based on this score, the best time of year to visit Christchurch for hot-weather activities is from late December to late January, with a peak score in the second week of January.

Beach/Pool Score

Beach/Pool Score in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec02468100.50.50.00.0NowNow precipitationprecipitationcloudsclouds
The beach/pool score (filled area), and its constituents: the temperature score (red line), the cloud cover score (blue line), and the precipitation score (green line).

Methodology

For each hour between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM of each day in the analysis period (1980 to 2016), independent scores are computed for perceived temperature, cloud cover, and total precipitation. Those scores are combined into a single hourly composite score, which is then aggregated into days, averaged over all the years in the analysis period, and smoothed.

Our cloud cover score is 10 for fully clear skies, falling linearly to 9 for mostly clear skies, and to 1 for fully overcast skies.

Our precipitation score, which is based on the three-hour precipitation centered on the hour in question, is 10 for no precipitation, falling linearly to 9 for trace precipitation, and to 0 for 0.04 inches of precipitation or more.

Our tourism temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 50°F, rising linearly to 9 for 65°F, to 10 for 75°F, falling linearly to 9 for 80°F, and to 1 for 90°F or hotter.

Our beach/pool temperature score is 0 for perceived temperatures below 65°F, rising linearly to 9 for 75°F, to 10 for 82°F, falling linearly to 9 for 90°F, and to 1 for 100°F or hotter.

Growing Season

Definitions of the growing season vary throughout the world, but for the purposes of this report, we define it as the longest continuous period of non-freezing temperatures (≥ 32°F) in the year (the calendar year in the Northern Hemisphere, or from July 1 until June 30 in the Southern Hemisphere).

The growing season in Christchurch typically lasts for 8.5 months (256 days), from around September 10 to around May 24, rarely starting before August 11 or after October 22, and rarely ending before April 22 or after June 14.

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season

Time Spent in Various Temperature Bands and the Growing Season in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0%100%10%90%20%80%30%70%40%60%50%50%60%40%70%30%80%20%90%10%100%0%50%Sep 1050%Sep 1050%May 2450%May 2490%Oct 2290%Oct 2290%Apr 2290%Apr 2210%Aug 1110%Aug 1110%Jun 1410%Jun 140%Jul 140%Jul 14Jan 19100%Jan 19100%very coldcoldcoolwarm
frigid 15°F freezing 32°F very cold 45°F cold 55°F cool 65°F comfortable 75°F warm 85°F hot 95°F sweltering
The percentage of time spent in various temperature bands. The black line is the percentage chance that a given day is within the growing season.

Growing degree days are a measure of yearly heat accumulation used to predict plant and animal development, and defined as the integral of warmth above a base temperature, discarding any excess above a maximum temperature. In this report, we use a base of 50°F and a cap of 86°F.

Based on growing degree days alone, the first spring blooms in Christchurch should appear around September 20, only rarely appearing before September 7 or after October 3.

Growing Degree Days

Growing Degree Days in ChristchurchJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0°F500°F1,000°F1,500°F2,000°FSep 2090°FSep 2090°FJun 301,942°FJun 301,942°FNowNow
The average growing degree days accumulated over the course of the year, with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Solar Energy

This section discusses the total daily incident shortwave solar energy reaching the surface of the ground over a wide area, taking full account of seasonal variations in the length of the day, the elevation of the Sun above the horizon, and absorption by clouds and other atmospheric constituents. Shortwave radiation includes visible light and ultraviolet radiation.

The average daily incident shortwave solar energy experiences extreme seasonal variation over the course of the year.

The brighter period of the year lasts for 3.6 months, from October 28 to February 16, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter above 6.2 kWh. The brightest day of the year is January 4, with an average of 7.4 kWh.

The darker period of the year lasts for 3.7 months, from April 27 to August 18, with an average daily incident shortwave energy per square meter below 2.6 kWh. The darkest day of the year is June 20, with an average of 1.4 kWh.

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy

Average Daily Incident Shortwave Solar Energy in ChristchurchbrightbrightdarkJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec0 kWh1 kWh2 kWh3 kWh4 kWh5 kWh6 kWh7 kWh8 kWh9 kWh10 kWhJan 47.4 kWhJan 47.4 kWhJun 201.4 kWhJun 201.4 kWhOct 286.2 kWhOct 286.2 kWhApr 272.6 kWhApr 272.6 kWhAug 182.6 kWhAug 182.6 kWhNowNow
The average daily shortwave solar energy reaching the ground per square meter (orange line), with 25th to 75th and 10th to 90th percentile bands.

Topography

For the purposes of this report, the geographical coordinates of Christchurch are -43.533 deg latitude, 172.633 deg longitude, and 36 ft elevation.

The topography within 2 miles of Christchurch contains only modest variations in elevation, with a maximum elevation change of 121 feet and an average elevation above sea level of 36 feet. Within 10 miles contains only modest variations in elevation (1,798 feet). Within 50 miles contains very significant variations in elevation (6,529 feet).

The area within 2 miles of Christchurch is covered by artificial surfaces (86%) and grassland (10%), within 10 miles by grassland (30%) and water (28%), and within 50 miles by water (61%) and grassland (16%).

Data Sources

This report illustrates the typical weather in Christchurch, based on a statistical analysis of historical hourly weather reports and model reconstructions from January 1, 1980 to December 31, 2016.

Temperature and Dew Point

There is only a single weather station, Christchurch International Airport, in our network suitable to be used as a proxy for the historical temperature and dew point records of Christchurch.

At a distance of 10 kilometers from Christchurch, closer than our threshold of 150 kilometers, this station is deemed sufficiently nearby to be relied upon as our primary source for temperature and dew point records.

The station records are corrected for the elevation difference between the station and Christchurch according to the International Standard Atmosphere , and by the relative change present in the MERRA-2 satellite-era reanalysis between the two locations.

Please note that the station records themselves may additionally have been back-filled using other nearby stations or the MERRA-2 reanalysis.

Other Data

All data relating to the Sun's position (e.g., sunrise and sunset) are computed using astronomical formulas from the book, Astronomical Algorithms 2nd Edition , by Jean Meeus.

All other weather data, including cloud cover, precipitation, wind speed and direction, and solar flux, come from NASA's MERRA-2 Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis . This reanalysis combines a variety of wide-area measurements in a state-of-the-art global meteorological model to reconstruct the hourly history of weather throughout the world on a 50-kilometer grid.

Land Use data comes from the Global Land Cover SHARE database , published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Elevation data comes from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) , published by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Names, locations, and time zones of places and some airports come from the GeoNames Geographical Database .

Time zones for aiports and weather stations are provided by AskGeo.com .

Maps are © Esri, with data from National Geographic, Esri, DeLorme, NAVTEQ, UNEP-WCMC, USGS, NASA, ESA, METI, NRCAN, GEBCO, NOAA, and iPC.

Disclaimer

The information on this site is provided as is, without any assurances as to its accuracy or suitability for any purpose. Weather data is prone to errors, outages, and other defects. We assume no responsibility for any decisions made on the basis of the content presented on this site.

We draw particular cautious attention to our reliance on the MERRA-2 model-based reconstructions for a number of important data series. While having the tremendous advantages of temporal and spatial completeness, these reconstructions: (1) are based on computer models that may have model-based errors, (2) are coarsely sampled on a 50 km grid and are therefore unable to reconstruct the local variations of many microclimates, and (3) have particular difficulty with the weather in some coastal areas, especially small islands.

We further caution that our travel scores are only as good as the data that underpin them, that weather conditions at any given location and time are unpredictable and variable, and that the definition of the scores reflects a particular set of preferences that may not agree with those of any particular reader.