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

New Zealand has just experienced its hottest November on record, according to NIWA climate scientists.
Novel handwriting recognition project casts new light on historic weather data.
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.

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.
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.
While we know that glaciers are sensitive to changes in their local climate, our understanding of exactly how mountain glaciers will respond to climate change is incomplete.

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.

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.

Welcome to the second edition of Asia-Pacific Update, our newsletter focusing on NIWA's international work in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Australia. In this edition we focus on some of our recent aquatic biodiversity and biosecurity work in the region.

The statement made by NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Keith Lassey in a TV3 news story about methane (22 Dec 2009) is correct.

The concentration of methane in the atmosphere is rising, according to measurements made by NIWA.

NIWA has today released measurements from its globally significant Baring Head station showing that southern hemisphere atmospheric methane increased by 0.7% over the two-year period 2007–08. While this increase may not sound like much, it is about 35 times more than all the methane produced by New Zealand livestock each year.

NIWA's long-running 'seven-station' series shows NZ's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 °C over the past 100 years.
There are many lines of evidence showing that NZ has warmed during the past century.

New Zealand temperature trends from a set of eleven climate stations with no significant site changes since the 1930s

Location of Total Carbon Column Network Observing Sites (as of November 2009). GOSAT is the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

This schematic shows how greenhouse gas measurements are made for the Total Carbon Column Observing Network at NIWA's Lauder Atmospheric Research Station in Central Otago, New Zealand.

This is a description of technical terms used in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network project page.

NIWA's research station at Lauder in Central Otago specialises in measuring CFCs, ozone, UV levels and greenhouse gases and has a wide range of world-class instruments and research scientists.

Three new posters of the Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour seabed reveal for the first time a treasure trove of detailed information for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

14 September 2009 - Port of New Orleans CEO, Gary La Grange, is in Wellington to talk about the lessons New Orleans learnt from its recovery from Hurricane Katrina and how these experiences can help protect coastal and port areas worldwide. Mr La Grange is one of the keynote speakers at the Australasian Coasts and Ports Conference at Te Papa Tongarewa, from 16-18 September 2009.

NIWA and IBM today announced a multi-million dollar partnership where NIWA will purchase one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for use in environmental forecasting.

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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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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
Environmental Economist
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