Climate, Freshwater & Ocean Science


Annual Climate Summary 2021

It's official, 2021 was Aotearoa New Zealand’s warmest year on record. The year 2021 finished with an average temperature of 13.56°C in New Zealand, this was 0.95°C above average (relative to the 1981-2010 baseline) and surpassed 2016 to become the country's new warmest year on record. Read more at Annual Climate Summary 2021.

New Zealand experiencing 5x more temperature extremes than expected

Stories of tremendous forest fires, huge storm events, and suffocating heatwaves have dominated headlines over the past few years. We instinctively feel that our weather is getting wilder. Are we finally living through those climate change warnings we’ve heeded for decades?

NIWA celebrates its Science New Zealand Award winners for 2021

Government scientists celebrated their 2021 award winners at the annual Science New Zealand awards celebration virtually this year.

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Annual Climate Summary

2021 was New Zealand's warmest year on record

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2021 Annual Climate Summary as a story map


Surveying scallops populations with artificial intelligence

Together with the University of Canterbury and Fisheries NZ, NIWA has been working to develop a catch-free, non-invasive method of surveying scallop populations. Find out how...

Will it be a fintastic fishing year?

A marine heatwave is happening all around New Zealand. Warmer waters are more pleasant for swimming in and can create wilder weather. But what do they mean for fishing? Let’s dive into the science behind getting a good catch.

Studying a fragile and alien icy world

NIWA scientists are doing what no others have done before. In a mysterious world just below the Antarctic ice, a delicate web of ice crystals forms a habitat that’s unique and largely unknown. Until now…

Rewilding green-lipped mussels

You can’t take a trip to the Marlborough Sounds and fail to notice the patchwork of buoys bobbing in the blue waters. Suspended under these buoys are kilometres of lines, each in turn with their own much smaller lines trailing beneath. These lines, less than a millimetre in diameter, are the anchoring byssal threads (or beards) of green-lipped mussels.