Climate change

Climate change effects are accelerating, driving the need for actions informed by sound climate knowledge.

Climate change

NIWA is committed to providing the science needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks, maximise opportunities, foster climate resilience and work towards a carbon-neutral economy.

“When it comes to climate change we are in the beautiful position of knowing what our choices are. We can feel a real sense of opportunity about the future - what role our science can play, and how people can contribute”

Dr Sam Dean, Principal Scientist, Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards

The latest climate change facts you need to know:

Latest news

Expect to hear a lot more about climate change in the news next week – and a lot about NIWA’s work underpinning the science that is signalling a warmer world right now and its effects in the future.
Two reports released today by NIWA and the Deep South National Science Challenge reveal new information about how many New Zealanders, how many buildings and how much infrastructure could be affected by extreme river and coastal flooding from storms and sea-level rise.
Understanding how the Antarctic oceans work is vital to predicting the world’s future climate and the implications of climate change for humankind and the planet.

The on-going rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that is fuelling climate change is also driving significant changes in the waters off our coasts.

Our work

Glaciers are iconic features of mountain landscapes with significant cultural, environmental, scientific, and economic value. While we know that they are sensitive to changes in their local climate, our understanding of exactly how mountain glaciers will respond to climate change is incomplete. Specifically, the extent to which cloud cover will amplify or reduce the melting of a glacier in response to warming is uncertain.
Adaptive Futures is a 'serious game' designed to introduce players to community-level decision-making and climate change adaptation.
NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.
Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.

Latest videos

Our Climate is Changing

Our climate is changing - we need to act now.

Glaciers Don't Lie

If you think New Zealand's Southern Alps are shielded from climate change – take a look at this. "You can't make a glacier lie.”

Ocean acidification - what is it?

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate—it is also changing our oceans. Take a look at the work of the NIWA-led CARIM project into what these changes may mean for the delicate balance of marine life.

NIWA Blake Ambassadors vlog1

26 October 2018. NIWA Blake Ambassadors, Lana Young and Siobhan O'Connor and SalpPOOP voyage leader Dr Moira Decima check out sampled salps from different depths.

Students at Leigh School have been working with marine scientists and the 'Year of the Salps' project partners to learn how to count sea salps, understand salp life cycle phases and the importance of salps in marine ecosystems and their carbon-cycling effects on climate change.
Inhabitants of the Marshall Islands may not be able to avoid drought, but thanks to a new tool co-developed by NIWA they can now plan ahead to better manage water resources when the big dry looms.
Coastal communities around New Zealand are getting a say on how to respond to sea-level rise, and NIWA is helping them.
What happens when the contribution from seasonal snow and ice melt changes in a warmer world?
Te Huringa ki te Rangi is a decision-making model to support indigenous and coastal communities who are grappling to understand and evaluate climate change impacts and risks, and how to integrate these into their development plans for the future.
A NIWA-led team has today been awarded a multi-million dollar research grant that will help drive major advances in understanding of New Zealand’s carbon emissions and uptake
A senior NIWA scientist is concerned many councils are having difficulty “getting off the starting blocks” when it comes to planning for coastal climate change.
Climate change scenarios through to 2110

Features temperature change, increase in hot days, decrease in frost, drought indicator, rainfall patterns through to 2110 under two ICPP scenarios.

Climate change touch screen - Fieldays
The touch screen in action at Fieldays.revealing how our climate will change across the country.
One of the world's leading scientific publishers has named a paper cowritten by a NIWA scientist as one of 250 groundbreaking findings that could "help change the world".
Spare a thought for Fieldays exhibitors putting the final touches to their stands tomorrow – it’s going to be wet.
NIWA is encouraging farmers to plan for climate change so they can maximise their abilities to adapt and thrive as significant change begins to take place.
NIWA science is driving progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Our scientists provide the knowledge key for evidence-based decision-making and for our society as a whole.
Massive increases in computing power are allowing NIWA scientists to not only analyse more data, faster, but also to envisage completely new experiments.
New Zealand’s glaciers have all retreated and lost volume since NIWA started surveying them in 1977.
NIWA has joined forces with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology to issue a joint Special Climate Statement about unusual weather patterns over summer.
Climate scientists and glaciologists are taking to the skies this week to find out how New Zealand’s glaciers are faring following this summer’s record-breaking warmth.
Ancient swamp kauri is being used by NIWA scientists to reveal the secrets of past climates.
Despite a sub-tropical storm and two ex-tropical cyclones, this summer is about to become the hottest in history.

John McGregor from NIWA checks on the instruments that measure atmospheric gases throughout our voyage.

Auckland region climate change projections and impacts | Auckland Council

Auckland Council and Council Controlled Organisations commissioned NIWA to provide climate change projections, including high-resolution maps for the Auckland Region.

A two-week expedition to tag blue whales in New Zealand waters for the first time, almost came up empty due to warmer sea temperatures causing the animals to change their behaviour.

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Key contacts

Chief Scientist - Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Climate and Environmental Applications
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
Principal Scientist - Climate

All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Climate and Environmental Applications
Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Physics Modeller
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Freshwater Fisheries Ecologist
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Physical Oceanographer
Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Chief Scientist - Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards
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Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
Atmospheric Scientist
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Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Environmental Economist
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