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

One of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of Covid-19 being transmitted in Aotearoa New Zealand classrooms is simply by opening doors and windows to create natural ventilation, say NIWA air quality experts.
New NIWA-led research shows increasing flood risk is going to be what leads people to make changes to adapt to sea-level rise.
Aotearoa New Zealand has just experienced its warmest winter on record – well exceeding the previous record which was set just last year.
Without the global CFC ban we’d already be facing the reality of a “scorched earth”, according to researchers measuring the impact of the Montreal Protocol.

Our work

Regional-scale climate projections assist local authorities to assess risks presented by climate change now and prepare their communities for the future impacts.
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.
Clouds over the ocean, and how they trap or emit radiation from the sun, are partly influenced by the biology, biogeochemistry and physics of the surface ocean below.
Flooding is one of the most costly natural hazards in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our regular flood clean-up bills are topped only by much less frequent earthquakes.

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.”

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.
This helps planners, engineers, asset managers, and hazard analysts in urban councils understand and evaluate the potential impacts of climate change.

NIWA Oceanographer Dr Craig Stevens has returned, with stunning images and data, from a successful month-long research trip in Antarctica, where he led a team of international and New Zealand scientists.

NIWA’s weather prediction model simulated the intense rainfall which fell just north of the capital, and flooded parts of Porirua, on Sunday 27 March. Thirty nine millimetres of rain fell in less than an hour, around 1.00pm.

More than 30 international experts in climate science will meet in Queenstown this week to discuss implementing a new a state-of-the-art global network to improve the quality of measurements of upper air climate variables.

Over the past decade, predicting the weather, and understanding the changes in climate, has emerged as one of the most important and topical areas of scientific endeavour.

NIWA today released a report reviewing its seven station temperature series, which adds to its analysis of New Zealand’s temperature trends over the past 100 years.

New climate modelling shows seasonal snow levels at New Zealand ski areas will be reduced by the effects of climate change in the coming years, but the good news is the loss may actually be less than originally anticipated and we should be able to continue to make snow, even under a more extreme climate scenario.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere
Regional Manager - Nelson
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Climate and Environmental Applications
Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation
Principal Scientist - Carbon Chemistry and Modelling
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
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Surface Water - Groundwater Modeller
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
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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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