Scientists discover bizarre 'teleconnection' between weather in NZ and US

Weather forecasters in the United States can now look to New Zealand's summer to help them predict how much rainfall there will be 11,000km away, in Los Angeles, California.

The new discovery comes courtesy of a new study published in peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature Communications.

Study co-author Efi Foufoula-Georgiou told EurekAlert this new way of predicting weather patterns is more accurate than ever before.

"Influences between the hemispheres promise earlier and more accurate prediction of winter precipitation in California and the south-west US," she said.

The importance of knowing how much rain they should expect really impacts the economy, water security and the ecosystem management," Dr Foufoula-Georgiou.

EurekAlert reported that researchers behind the discovery are calling it the New Zealand Index (NZI), because the sea surface temperature anomaly that triggers it begins in July and August in the south-western Pacific Ocean, which is where our island nation lies.

Lead Author on the research Antonios Mamalakis of the University of California Irvine says the new model has given them a chance to predict below or above normal winter precipitation in southwest US.

Typically the cycle of warm and cold has been based on measuring the water temperatures on the Gulf of Alaska and El Niño, but the forecasting power of that method has diminished.

More recently, the El Niño conditions did not bring the same rain that it has in the past, proving itself less reliable.