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.”

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 Atmospheric 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.

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.
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.
These studies extended NIWA's regional climate modelling work, addressing future changes in drought risk and extreme winds under a warming climate.

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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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