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After travelling almost 12,000km in the past six weeks, a group of scientists returns to Wellington at the weekend with new knowledge about life in the Ross Sea of Antarctica.
Across the North Island, soil moisture levels continued to decrease nearly everywhere during the past week. Across the South Island, soil moisture levels decreased nearly everywhere during the past week with little rainfall in the north, south and east.
Across the North Island, soil moisture levels decreased nearly everywhere during the past week. In the South Island, soil moisture levels decreased during the past week with meagre rainfall in the north and east.
For more than a year a frozen slab of leopard seal poo sat in a NIWA freezer. The poo, known scientifically as scat and about the size of two bread rolls, is as good as gold for leopard seal researchers.
NIWA has crunched the data on this week’s heatwave and come up with the following record breakers
Areas deemed hotspots have expanded significantly during the past week in the North Island, while in the South Island the previous hotspot encompassing Nelson and nearby portions of Tasman has continued to strengthen during the past week.
Two Māori carvers head to Antarctica next week to complete and install a traditional carving at Scott Base, New Zealand’s headquarters on the ice.
The water in the New Zealand region is significantly warmer than it was 30 years ago, and all indications are the warming trend will continue, says a NIWA scientist.
The previous hotspot in the Far North dissipated around the Aupouri Peninsula in the past week, but has spread south into northern Whangarei and Kaipara districts. The current hotspot in Tasman could strengthen in the next week, while central Canterbury may see a new hotspot form in the coming week.
The previous hotspot in the Far North has expanded in size during the past week, now encompassing much of the eastern Far North and the Aupouri Peninsula. A hotspot remains in place across Nelson and nearby portions of Tasman, but no other South Island hotspots are in effect at this time.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable story.
If you think science and art have nothing in common, think again. At environmental science institute NIWA, it’s all about one inspiring the other.

Read other Summer Series 2018 stories

A weekly update describing soil moisture across the country to help assess whether severely to extremely dry conditions are occurring or imminent. Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed “hotspots”. Persistent hotspot regions have the potential to develop into drought.
As a young child growing up on an Irish farm, one of Eimear Egan’s chores was to regularly clean out the well from where her family drew its drinking water. In the well lived a large eel that, no matter how many times it was shifted, just kept coming back.
A group of intrepid scientists leaves Wellington for Antarctica this week on board NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa for what their leader calls “a voyage of discovery”.

Ross Sea Environment and Ecosystem Voyage 2019

A leopard seal, who has made the balmy waters around Auckland home, is prompting a NIWA scientist to campaign for her to be made a New Zealand citizen.
Based at Bream Bay, Whangarei, Crispin Middleton is also an acclaimed underwater photographer and the recipient of numerous photography awards. His work regularly appears in New Zealand Geographic, dive magazines, scientific journals and conservation/ government documents.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 
Across the North Island, soil moisture levels either decreased slightly or remained the same during the past week. Across the South Island, soil moisture remained near normal or above normal in the central and eastern part of the island during the past week while areas in the west have near normal or below normal soil moisture.
A NIWA-led team of marine ecologists are using seal-mounted cameras to get a first-hand view into the behaviour and movements of Weddell seals under the Antarctic ice.

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