This cross-section of the Southern Alps shows the enormous variation in annual rainfall within a few tens of kilometres. The highest rainfall – up to 13 metres – occurs in a narrow band west of the main divide. The prevailing westerly winds force moist air from the Tasman Sea over the mountains. As the air rises and cools, much of the moisture condenses as rainfall.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Graphic by Trevor Chinn
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Source: Trevor Chinn, ‘How wet is the wettest of the wet West Coast?’ New Zealand Alpine Journal 32 (1979): 86