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

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'
Scientists have recorded more snow on the South Island glaciers this year, but they warn it is simply a temporary break rather than any good news on the climate change front.
Scientists know so little about how storms affect the delicate balance of lake ecosystems that we may be unable to protect them from the effects of climate change, says a NIWA scientist.
NIWA researchers have helped unlock information trapped in ancient air samples from Greenland and Antarctica that shows the amount of methane humans are emitting into the atmosphere from fossil fuels has been vastly underestimated.

Our work

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.
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.
Last updated: 
26 November 2019
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.
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

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.

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.
Last updated: 
26 November 2019
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.
The Deep South National Science Challenge today announced new funding for seven new scientific research projects to help New Zealanders better understand their future climate.
Adapting to climate change in Samoa

Muliagatele Filomena Nelson from Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources  and Environment discusses integrating traditional knowledge when  adapting to climate change in Samoa.

The world’s oceans are acidifying as a result of the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by humanity.

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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
Principal Scientist - 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
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