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NIWA develops first NZ drought index

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/03/2017
NIWA and the Department of Primary Industries have come up with the New Zealand Drought Index based on four other commonly-used indicators. © Getty Images NIWA and the Department of Primary Industries have come up with the New Zealand Drought Index based on four other commonly-used indicators.

A definitive definition of drought for New Zealand has been developed for the first time.

NIWA and the Department of Primary Industries have come up with the New Zealand Drought Index based on four other commonly-used indicators.

Climate scientist Andrew Tait says the index, made up of maps and charts, will allow people to select districts and climatological indicators to track particular areas.

"It's the place to go to look at current drought indicators around New Zealand,' he said.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the index would be used to classify drought as medium or large scale adverse events and determine when recovery measures are required.

"When a region has been in drought or a period of time, the Drought Index will be one extremely useful factor to confirm the duration, scale and intensity of the dryness," he said.

"This is another good example of smart agriculture, using technology to help farmers make early decisions."

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