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 in the weeks ahead – 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.
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.

Hokitika temperature data used in the NIWA seven-station temperature series have now been split into two stations

Temperature data for December 1927 at Kelburn (agent number 3385) have been added to the NIWA Climate Database. Kelburn is one of the sites used to create the 'Wellington' record for the NIWA seven-station temperature series.

This note outlines a correction made the NIWA seven-station temperature series relating to an incorrect value of monthly mean temperature for Waingawa for April 1910

This page lists any technical changes relating to data in the seven-station temperature series, and provides links for more detail.

In-filling of missing data for ‘Masterton’ in 2016 (implemented June 2016)

Reason:

Missing data at Martinborough in April and May 2016

Effect of change on 100-year warming trend:                                                                         

Minimal

Effect of change on the year 2016 setting a new record for warmest year:

Small, and not sufficient to deny 2016 as the 7-station annual temperature record

Full details

Revised 1945 Hokitika adjustment (implemented February 2016)

Reason:

Further analysis of the Hokitika adjustments suggested that the smaller of the two options in the NIWA 2010 Review was more appropriate.

Effect of change on 100-year warming trend:

The revised 1945 adjustment reduces the warming trend at Hokitika by 0.22°C/century, and therefore the overall 7-station warming trend by about 0.03°C/century.

Full details

Scientific references about the 'seven-station' temperature series adjustment process, and the internationally accepted best practice approaches to adjusting raw climate data to more accurately calculate temperature trends.

NIWA's 'seven-station' series has been re-analysed, and independently peer-reviewed, and the result confirms a NZ-wide warming trend. Here we provide links to extensive documentation for each of the 'seven stations'.

NIWA has posted its NZ ‘seven-station’ temperature series data for download here. The best-fit linear trend over the past 100 years (1909 to 2008) shows NZ’s average annual temperature has increased by 0.9°C. A schedule of adjustments required to create this series is also available from this page.

This is a record of changes made to the section of NIWA's website relating to our analysis of New Zealand temperature trends.

The spreadsheet, graph and trend for the 'seven-station' series temperature data is updated each year. All raw data can be downloaded from NIWA's climate database, CliFlo:

CLiFlo

The return of the upgraded RV Tangaroa represents a huge advancement for New Zealand science and exploration

NIWA today welcomed home RV Tangaroa, New Zealand’s only deepwater research vessel, after a $20 million dollar upgrade to enhance its ocean science and survey capabilities.

NIWA’s coastal scientists met with members of the Whitianga community last week, and thanked them for their input into a NIWA research project, Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change.

Current Climate - August 2010

August 2010 mean temperatures were above average (between 0.5°C and 1.2°C above average) across all regions of New Zealand, except for eastern Otago, where temperatures were near average (within 0.5°C of average). Small areas of well above average temperatures (more than 1.2°C above average) were observed in Northland, eastern Bay of Plenty, Nelson and Fiordland. The New Zealand national average temperature was 9.6°C (0.9°C above the 1971-2000 August average).

What happened in August, how our climate outlook for the previous three months turned out, global and local sea temperatures, and our outlook for September to November

The latest version (V3) of NIWA’s High Intensity Rainfall Design System (HIRDS) is a web-based system that lets engineers find out how much rain they should design for at any location in New Zealand. It will tell them the probability of a really big downpour, and how big that downpour might be.

Missing data 
Breaks in the lines on the temperature graphs occur where there are missing data. For the purpose of this illustration, annual averages are calculated only where there is a complete year of monthly values available on the NIWA Climate Database. In the case of Albert Park, some data are missing due to persistent vandalism of equipment there.

Here we look at temperature measurements made at three sites in Auckland over roughly the same period. The raw data show a warming trend at each individual site. When you join the data, you need to take account of climatic differences between measuring sites.

This page provides technical explanations for some aspects of the explanation of why we need to make adjustments when combining data from multiple sites in Wellington

In Wellington early temperature measurements were made at a site in Thorndon, but the site was relocated in 1928 to Kelburn. The Kelburn site is colder because it is about 120m higher than the Thorndon site. This illustrates why we sometimes need to adjust climate data.

How do climate scientists identify a real temperature trend? For example, what happens if some temperature measurements were made on top of a hill and other measurements were at sea level?
In climate science, there are a number of accepted methods to account for missing data in temperature series. This note explains in technical terms what we did for the 11-station series.

Pages

 
 
 

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
placeholder image
Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
placeholder image
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
placeholder image
Marine Physics Modeller
placeholder image
Freshwater Fisheries Ecologist
placeholder image
Physical Oceanographer
Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Chief Scientist - Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards
placeholder image
Marine Biologist (Biosecurity)
Atmospheric Scientist
placeholder image
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Environmental Economist
Subscribe to RSS - Climate change