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.

Hazard risk is compounding in low-lying coastal areas of New Zealand, because hazard events are occurring more often (on the back of a rising sea), while at the same time coastal development and property/infrastructure values are increasing.

Rapid warming of the ocean near Tasmania may provide a good indication of how the water around New Zealand will change as the planet warms, say NIWA scientists.

New Zealand winters are a month shorter than they were 80 years ago, NIWA scientists say.

“This is a consequence of rising temperatures around the globe, and such trends in colder temperatures and frosts will influence the life cycle of plants and animals” - Dr Brett Mullan.

A dramatic change in sea ice this year is likely to hamper a NIWA-led research project aiming to better understand how ice shelves will melt as the ocean warms.
A decade of scientific research into how ocean acidification is affecting New Zealand waters has led to far greater understanding of the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems, according to a newly published review.
The Deep South National Science Challenge is one of New Zealand’s most audacious collaborative projects in recent times.
Pioneering NIWA scientists are returning to the cold continent in October, this time to focus on the seabed.
Tropical cyclones forming in the south-west Pacific are becoming less frequent but those that do form are likely to be more severe.
The construction of improved climate information and services in Vanuatu has posed unique logistical challenges.
The most commonly grown variety of kiwifruit around Te Puke will not be commercially viable in the area by the end of the century, say scientists.
Sitting at the surface of Taylor Glacier in Antarctica, are layers of ice more than 10,000 years old. And trapped inside those layers are bubbles of ancient air – like tiny time capsules - able to tell scientists a story about what the world used to be like and how humans have changed it.
Wellington city will have warmer autumns, almost a month of days over 25°C and up to 10 per cent more winter rain by 2090, according to a new NIWA climate report.
Regional-scale climate projections assist New Zealand’s local government authorities to adequately assess the local risks presented by climate change now and prepare their communities for the future impacts of climate change.
Climate change and variability - report for the Greater Wellington Region

NIWA Climate Scientist - Petra Pearce explains Wellington city will have warmer autumns, almost a month of days over 25°C and up to 10 per cent more winter rain by 2090, according to a new NIWA climate report for the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

New research estimates that if climate change goes unchecked 60,000 more people will die globally from air pollution in 2030 – just 13 years away.
The latest atmospheric river over New Zealand delivered one town’s wettest day on record, and broke several other long-held rainfall statistics, according to NIWA data.
Edgecumbe Flood Damage

NIWA and GNS scientists recently visited Edgecumbe to assess flood damage in the area. In this video, local residents show the flood impacts on property, and hazards engineer Kate Crowley talks about flood scenario research.

The process of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for climate change was established under the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework. NAPs are forward-looking, holistic plans which are generally country-driven, given the local nature of adapting to climate change.

New Zealand climate change scenarios and impacts based on the 2007 IPCC 4th Assessment report.

Heat is being trapped in the atmosphere by increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, and the climate–ocean and ice systems are responding. One of the major and most certain (and so foreseeable) consequences is the rising sea level.
The effects of climate change on fish are being studied in a world-first trial at NIWA’s Bream Bay marine science centre.
New Zealand’s forests and other land areas may be absorbing up to 60% more carbon dioxide than has been calculated, with much of this uptake likely occurring in native forests, NIWA scientists have discovered.
The Kiwi dream of owning a beachfront property with panoramic views of the ocean is under threat—and not just for financial reasons.
Top of Natalie Robinson’s to-do list right now is to work out exactly what she’s brought back from Antarctica.
New research tests the air to estimate the carbon sink potential of forests and landscapes. It reveals that the ability of New Zealand’s land biosphere to absorb carbon could be 50 per cent more than currently estimated.

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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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