Important changes were introduced on the 1st January in the Meteorological Department, with the view of retrenchment, in order to continue the Weather Signal Branch, the vote for which was disallowed last session of Parliament. As far as possible the recommendations of the Conference held in Sydney in 1870 have been adopted in this reorganization.
The number of first-class Meteorological Stations has been reduced from eighteen to the three at Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin, but statistics are also furnished by the Director of the School of Agriculture, at Lincoln, near Christchurch.
Thirty-seven reporting stations are now fitted with reliable instruments, and supply information by telegraph at 9 a.m. on every day but Sunday, as to the wind, pressure, temperature, humidity, and general state of the weather. These telegrams are grouped according to the aspects decided on by the Conference, viz.: (a.) North-east, from the North Cape to the East Cape. (b.) North-west, from the North Cape to the West Cape. (c.) Southern, from the West Cape to Moeraki. (d.) South-east, from Moeraki to the East Cape. (e.) Cook Strait. From the data thus obtained, and from
extra telegrams when necessary, an isobaric map is constructed for each day, and a general report for each of the above aspects is prepared, and warnings are telegraphed to any part of the coast when dangerous winds or heavy seas are apprehended. This local weather signalling is still performed as efficiently as hitherto by Captain Edwin, R.N., whose services have now been transferred from the Marine to the Meteorological Department. These observations are also in part used as second-class station returns, for statistical purposes.
A large number of third-class stations are being established, at which Government officials and amateurs will record the rain-fall, temperature, wind, and weather changes.
At the second meeting of the Conference, held in Melbourne in April last, a system of intercolonial weather exchanges was agreed upon, and telegrams are exchanged daily between Sydney and Wellington in a special code, the former giving an abstract of the weather, particularly the movement of storm centres and atmospheric disturbances in Australia, and the latter the same for New Zealand. These abstracts are supplied to the Press Agencies, and are telegraphed to the morning papers throughout the colony.
The experience of two months has proved that this system will be of especial value to New Zealand, as the progress of nearly all storms appears to be from west to east, so that after the system has been more fully studied it will be capable of affording from three to five days' warning of the approach of marked atmospheric disturbances.