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.

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. 

RiskScape, a joint venture between NIWA and GNS Science, is a tool for analysing potential economic and social impacts from multiple natural hazards.

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.

Antarctic Climate Change

NIWA climate scientist Dr James Renwick explains what changes are occurring in the Antarctic in response to climate change and what's likely to happen in the future.

Climate Change and the Microbial Loop

NIWA biological oceanographer Dr Julie Hall explains how increased sea temperatures are predicted to increase stratification of the ocean, creating a disconnect between the surface waters and deep ocean.

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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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