Feature story

Carrying out scientific experiments in the coldest part of the world is tough — even tougher if you’re miles away from Scott Base in a shipping container. But one NIWA scientist insists it’s a lot of fun.
Floods are not unusual in New Zealand, but those that hit us early this winter broke records. Why did they occur? Should we expect more? Can we predict future floods?
There was a common factor in the floods that hit swathes of New Zealand midway through this year – they were all forecastable.
Rob Bell is happiest occupying the high ground. With a 35-year career in researching, modeling and monitoring natural hazards, such as king tides, coastal inundation, storms and tsunami, he knows that elevation from coastal margins is the only true protection from a potentially turbulent future.
The Southern Ocean is our marine backyard. Its boundary laps against the south of the South Island. To find out how the Southern Ocean affects life in New Zealand, we went to NIWA’s Dr Mike Williams, physical oceanographer.
New Zealand economists and NIWA have counted the economic benefits from investing in environmental research.
Cyclone Pam’s furious flight path across the South Pacific in March this year illustrated the danger natural hazards pose to life, livelihoods and infrastructural development in the region.
When Cyclone Pam slammed into Vanuatu in May the vulnerability of Pacific’s island nations to extreme weather was again laid bare.
Modern development and population growth have generated severe pollution problems in some Pacific Island nations.
At the age of seven, NIWA’s youngest climate scientist, Nava Fedaeff, swapped sub-arctic Siberia for balmy Auckland – and her first job was to learn to swim.
NIWA scientists are among a small group working to understand why New Zealand's sea lion population is declining. Using a range of methods, they're finding that the cause of the decline is varied, and includes changes in diet, bacterial infection, low pupping rates and low survival rates.


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