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.

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.

NIWA scientists say concentrations of ozone high in the atmosphere are projected to increase.

This is good news for the ozone hole over the South Pole.  However, modelling shows that, by the year 2100, ozone in the lower atmosphere could actually be a problem for New Zealand and for much of the Southern Hemisphere.

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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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