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.

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.
David Wratt - How is sea level rise likely to affect us in the next 100 years?

Annie Hale, from Colorado College, USA, talks to Dr David Wratt, one of New Zealand's leading climate scientists on climate change.

David Wratt - What changes in weather can we expect from climate change?

Annie Hale, from Colorado College, USA, talks to Dr David Wratt, one of New Zealand's leading climate scientists on climate change.

NIWA scientists are to undertake a major research project to determine how New Zealand’s marine ecosystems are faring under climate change.
The World Meteorological Organisation Congress has confirmed NIWA's Lauder atmospheric research station as one of Earth's leading providers of upper-air data critical for measuring climate change.
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.
Now back on dry land, Voyage Leader Richard O'Driscoll reflects on the final days of RV Tangaroa's 2015 Antarctica expedition.
In a small green laboratory perched on the rocky volcanic southern peninsula of Ross Island, Antarctica, there’s a space waiting for a new shiny, hi-tech Christmas present.

This is one of the key conclusions announced today by Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in the summary of its contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment. 

The Hydrological Society & The Meteorological Society of NZ joint conference

19 November 2013 to 22 November 2013

NIWA is sponsoring The Hydrological Society & The Meteorological Society of NZ joint conference

The theme of this year’s conference is Water and Weather: Solutions for health, wealth and environment.

The conference is being held in Palmerston North, and will attract scientists, technicians, consultants, hydrologists, climatologists, students, resource managers and many others. 

The New Zealand Climate Change Conference 2013

4 June 2013 to 5 June 2013

The New Zealand Climate Change Centre (NZCCC) is holding the New Zealand Climate Change Conference 2013 in Palmerston North on the 4th and 5th of June.

This conference brings together researchers from across New Zealand, showcasing the latest climate change research thinking and outputs. Including pysical science, adaption, mitigation and cross-cutting issues.

For more infomation see the NZCCC website

The measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) reaches a milestone this week. NIWA's globally significant Baring Head Clean Air Observation Programme is celebrating 40 years of continuous monitoring.

A range of trace gases are measured continuously at Baring Head, New Zealand. Observations at this station were started in the early 1970s and continue to the present.

Meteorological forecasting centres across the Pacific are predicting near average or slightly above average numbers of tropical cyclones for the 2012–13 season (November 2012 to April 2013). On average[1], 10 named tropical cyclones occur in the southwest Pacific (between 135°E and 120°W) each season (November to April). The outlook indicates that 9 to 12 named cyclones are expected for the 2012 – 2013 season. Tropical cyclone activity east of the International Dateline is expected to be normal, with above normal activity for Niue and Tonga during the second half of the season.

Scientists have discovered an abrupt increase in the uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the land biosphere since1988. Without this natural increase in uptake, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would probably have increased even more rapidly over the last two decades.

A New Zealand first! A multi-disciplinary team of scientists, planners and engineers has created a first-of-its-kind, innovative, custom-made "toolbox" for New Zealand city, district and regional councils to assess the impacts of climate change on
urban infrastructure.

The sea is creeping up on us, with storm surge flooding starting to occur more frequently on king tides. It is of growing concern. This is the first sign we will notice, rather than the slow but sure rise in sea-level. Sixty-five percent of Kiwis live within 5 km of the sea, and this includes twelve of our fifteen largest towns and cities. Because of our nation's preference for coastal living, we need to really consider what rising sea-levels mean for us, especially for higher tides.

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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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