Dr Richard McKenzie

Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation

  • B.Sc. Hons., 1st Class, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
  • M.Sc., University of the South Pacific, Fiji
  • D. Phil., University of Oxford, UK
Science Centre

Contact Details


Richard McKenzie is an emeritus atmospheric research scientist at NIWA, Lauder. In 1979, he and colleague Paul Johnston established Lauder's stratospheric research program, beginning with measurements of NO2 and later ozone, which have continued to this day. In 1983 he received an NCAR fellowship to study at the University of Oxford, and on his return in 1986 he established Lauder's atmospheric UV radiation measurement programme. Observations of spectral UV irradiance have continued at several global sites. After the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 1991, he established NIWA's aerosol research program. He was section leader at Lauder during the New Zealand reorganisation of science, when the Lauder research base became part of NIWA. At the time of his "retirement" in 2012, he was NIWA's Principal Scientist (Radiation), and leader of the Radiation and Aerosols projects; and had become a world leader in UV research. He was lead author on several WMO Scientific Assessments of Ozone Depletion, and lead author on the UNEP Panel that reports to the Parties of the Montreal Protocol on the Environmental Impacts of Ozone Depletion and their Interactions with Climate Change. He has published widely, with over 150 papers in the scientific literature.

He has worked closely with health research community using personal UV dosimeters that were developed in New Zealand. He also provides advice to other agencies, including NZ's Ministry for the Environment, the Cancer Society, and the Health Promotion Authority. He remains active in research, and is associate editor of Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences. With colleague Jeremy Buke, he developed two smartphone apps (uv2Day and GlobalUV) to provide UV information to the public, including appropriate behavioural advice.  He has given numerous public lectures, convened UV sessions at international symposia, and convened several UV Workshops in New Zealand. Extended abstracts from the most recent of these, along with a plethora of other UV information can be found on NIWA's web site.