Franz Joseph, New Zealand: Live Weather
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16/02/04.On arrival from Greymouth to Franz Josef we encountered bleak weather, but we don't mind, is holiday and it is...
Franz Joseph Glacier is unique in that it is situated in a temperate climate; in a rain forest, located just some two hundred meters above sea level.
Franz Joseph Glacier is located in a mountainous area and therefore is subjected to great variations in its weather patterns. This glacier can experience all four seasons in one day therefore, temperatures can vary between 0°C to 25°C at any time of the year. The West Coast is notorious for its untamed rainy weather, hence its wonderful rainforests! Weather and cloud levels can change within a matter of minutes.
An amazing fact about this region of New Zealand is the glacier can be seen all year round. Even though itâs certain that the ice is present all year round, specific ice characteristics cannot be guaranteed. These features come and go very quickly due to the movement of the glacier, however there are new features constantly forming.
While many of the world's glaciers are melting, New Zealand's two most famous glaciers (Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers) and are still growing strong. However, according to results from a team of glaciologists from Canterbury and Victoria universities say the tongue of the iconic glacier will melt away with the next hundred years. Even with the minimum amount of likely warming over the next century, the glacier will shrink in length by four km, and reduce in size to three-quarters of its current volume.
Franz Joseph lies on the trail of widespread westerly winds, creating exceptional but very chilly contrasts in temperature and rainfall on either side of the main divide of the Southern Alps. The West Coast rainforests are known to flood with up to 700 mm of annual rainfall whereas the Canterbury plains are moderately dry and temperate. In comparison to the North Island, the differences are less dramatic.
Weather in the glacier is just magnificent with its unexpected and powerful contrasts. The average rainfall is 470m falling over about one hundred and eighty days of rain per year. However, the region experiences many clear, sunny days - an average of one thousand nine hundred sunshine hours annually which is a lot more than in many other regions in New Zealand. Late summer and mid winter are principally known for milder than average South Island temperatures and soaring sunshine hours. During the summer the temperature will average from 10°C to 21°C and in the winter will linger around 2°C to 12°C.
Tourists to the glacier will be climbing on huge sheets of ice and mounting hundreds of feet. This means that the temperature on the glacier is going to be extensively lower than that in the glacial valley itself. When travelling to the Franz Josef Glacier you will need plenty of cold weather gear, even in the summer!