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

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.
Flood flows on the Buller River this month were the largest of any river in Aotearoa New Zealand in almost 100 years, NIWA measurements show.
Preliminary analysis by NIWA climate scientists has shown that the recent Canterbury rainfall was so extreme in some inland places that it could be expected to happen only once every 200 years.

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.”

Temperature measurements for the Nile St Vicarage in Nelson have now been digitised. These records were used in the NIWA seven-station temperature series

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?

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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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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
Atmospheric Scientist
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