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An underwater video camera on wheels is the latest weapon in the war against the introduction of exotic marine species into New Zealand waters.

Natural hazards hit New Zealand with a vengeance last week, with an earthquake, a tsunami, floods, large waves, and gales all making their presence felt.

Improvements to a new seismic hazard model should make estimating the likelihood of future earthquakes and shaking in New Zealand easier, reports the latest Natural Hazards Update, published today from the Natural Hazards Centre.

The severe drought that struck much of New Zealand during the summer and autumn of 2003 has broken.

A new programme underway at NIWA is researching the potential for byproducts and bycatch from the fishing industry, which are currently discarded or used for low-value products such as fishmeal, to be used in the production of skin-care products.

NIWA and Te Papa have signed a new agreement to help improve research for management of New Zealand’s aquatic biodiversity and biosecurity.

A mild winter is expected La Niña developing for winter.

Temperature

Above average temperatures are expected in all districts except the east of the South Island, where above average or average temperatures are expected. Some cold spells typical of winter are also likely, with frosty conditions at times in inland places. Local sea surface temperatures are likely to remain above average during the June–August period.

The 48 Southern Alps glaciers monitored annually by NIWA gained ice mass in the past year.

NIWA Senior Climate Scientist Dr Jim Salinger said today that after analysis of photographs taken on the survey of the glaciers in March it was apparent they had gained much more ice than they had lost during the past year.

The effect of New Zealand’s climate on energy supply and demand will be examined in a new six-year programme worth more than $1 million. The research was announced in the budget last week and will be carried out by NIWA and funded by the Foundation for Research, Science & Technology.

New Zealand could soon add kingfish, groper, kina, lobsters, and eels to its list of successful aquaculture exports. Aquaculture research at NIWA has received $1.5 million a year in funding for six years from the Foundation of Research, Science & Technology.

A technique that collects chemical ‘fingerprints’ from the ear bones of fish to help scientists identify which estuaries they originated from could have important implications for the management of New Zealand’s local fisheries, said an article in the latest issue of Fisheries & Aquaculture Update, published by NIWA’s National Centre for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

When it comes to earthquakes, the December–February quarter was a little quieter in 2002/03 than it was in the previous year, according to a report released today by the Natural Hazards Centre. There were 91 earthquakes of magnitude four and above, compared with 119 in the same period in 2001/2002.

The water shortage facing many parts of New Zealand looks set to continue, according to a report released today by NIWA’s National Centre for Water Resources.

Christchurch has a severe air pollution problem, especially during winter. This winter, scientists from NIWA will be using a $150,000 spectrometer to examine how this local air pollution reduces the amount of UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface.

With the increasing focus on renewable energy sources, how can we find the best places to put new wind farms? NIWA scientists are using several new tools, including one which uses sound waves, to help answer this question.

If we want to get the best generating capacity out of wind turbines, we should put them in places with the highest average speeds. The wind in a particular place consists of a few storms, some calm periods, and everything else in between. If we put all these conditions together, we get the average wind speed.

During the first week of March NIWA will be conducting experimental work to assess survivorship amongst snapper tagged with its newly developed electronic tag. Snapper will be caught using commercial trawl and long-line vessels from waters close to Kawau Island. The snapper will then be tagged, placed into a large sea cage and monitored for two weeks.

When it comes to earthquakes, spring was much quieter in 2002 than it was in 2001. There were only 89 earthquakes of magnitude four and above in spring 2002, compared with 291 in the same period in 2001.

Going on a summer holiday to an out-of-the-way place and want to know the tides? Or are you planning a fishing trip, or a beach wedding perhaps?

The lace coral beds on the seafloor at Separation Point in Golden Bay–Tasman Bay are thriving – and commercial fishers can take much of the credit.

A major marine survey and monitoring programme designed to detect new exotic species before they become established in New Zealand waters kicks off in Northland today.

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