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.

“The challenges of reducing our national greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to a changing climate are hugely important and affect all New Zealanders. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill provides the framework for responding to these challenges. NIWA’s role – providing research for evidence-based decision-making and science-based solutions to reduce emissions and adapt to our changing climate – is now more important than ever.”

Dr Andrew Tait, Chief Scientist, Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards

The latest climate change facts you need to know:

Latest news

Scientists analysing end-of-summer snowline survey photos have estimated that 13 million cubic meters of ice have been lost from just one glacier from 2016 to 2019.
This is one of the most extreme drought events for Auckland in modern times and similar to one experienced in 1993/94.
Analysis of drought conditions across New Zealand this year shows it is one of the most severe on record for some regions.
Young New Zealanders can now access the most up-to-date educational material about the science of climate change and its impacts on Aotearoa thanks to NIWA’s new web section: 'Climate change information for climate solvers'

Our work

Climate Present and Past is a core-funded project under NIWA's National Climate Centre. It aims to explore historical climate data and track past changes in climate through a range of approaches.
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.
NIWA is developing a national river flow forecasting tool for New Zealand that aims to support and strengthen our planning for and response to extreme rainfall events.
RiskScape, a joint venture between NIWA and GNS Science, is a tool for analysing potential economic and social impacts from multiple natural hazards.

Latest videos

Glacier melt: A Time Capsule

Since 2016 enough ice has melted from the South Island’s Brewster Glacier to meet the drinking water needs of all New Zealanders for three years.

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.”

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.

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.

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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
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Marine Physics Modeller
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Climate Scientist
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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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