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

A new study has identified seven freshwater species native to Aotearoa-New Zealand that will likely be highly or very highly vulnerable to climate change.
Some of the most striking images of lockdown around the world have been the blue skies of cities ordinarily choking in smog. From New Delhi to Los Angeles, Beijing to Paris, the changes were so remarkable they were visible from space.
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.

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.
Our Future Climate New Zealand is an interactive website that lets you to look at projections for a number of climate variables for New Zealand between now and 2100.
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.
NIWA is using serious games to look at problems holistically, support understanding and give a framework for climate change adaptation decision-making.

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.”

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.

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.

The Microbial Loop

The microbial loop refers to the small microscopic organisms in the ocean – viruses, bacteria, the small phytoplankton and microzooplankton – and the relationships between them.

Sea Ice and Climate Change

Dr Mike Williams, physical oceanographer at NIWA, explains the importance of Antarctic sea ice in the Earth's ocean and climate systems and how they may be affected by climate change.

Climate Change and Deepsea Life

Dr Dave Bowden outlines concerns over the impacts of climate change on deepsea life in Antarctic waters.

Phytoplankton and Climate Change

NIWA biological oceanographer Dr Philip Boyd explains how the Southern Ocean plays a key role in controlling the world's climate, by drawing large amounts of CO2 from Earth's atmosphere into the ocean depths.

Is ocean iron addition part of the solution to climate change? Cliff Law, NIWA explains: 

A decision framework has been developed that provides for a balanced and justifiable prioritisation of sustainable adaptations to climate change and which is flexible to change.
A range of links, contacts and supplementary material.

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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
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Coastal Adaptation Scientist
Regional Manager - Nelson
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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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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