The Southern Alps Experiment is being mounted to study the influence of New Zealand's Southern Alps on local weather and climate. This paper describes these alpine influences and outlines proposed field and modeling experiments. Experiment goals include understanding and quantifying factors that govern the intensity and spatial distribution of heavy rainfall, the west to east distribution of precipitation across the mountains, and the intensity of lee wind storms and warming. Linked research will explore the use of deterministic rainfall models to predict river flows from mountain watersheds.

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*National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand.

+National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Christchurch, New Zealand.

#Physics Department, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

@Meteorological Service of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.

&Geography Department, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand.

**Geography Department, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand.

++Division of Atmospheric Research, CSIRO, Aspendale, Australia.

##Laboratoire de Meteorologie Physique, Université Blaise Pascal, Clemont-Ferrand, France.