A consistent band of westerly wind flows across the Southern Hemisphere and circles the South Pole. The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) describes how this band moves, either north towards the equator (negative phase) or south towards Antarctica (positive phase). A negative phase typically causes increased westerlies, unsettled weather, and storms in New Zealand. A phase can last several weeks, but changes can be rapid and unpredictable.
The SAM is one of three climate oscillations that affect our weather. The resulting changes in air pressure, sea temperature, and wind direction can last for weeks to decades, depending on the oscillation.
More information on this dataset and how it relates to our environmental reporting indicators and topics can be found in the attached data quality pdf.
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