News: Climate change projections for NZ - Snow & Ice Network

Shallow-water zone: the low-growing Isoetes. [NIWA]

NIWA’s new climate change projections.

Climate change projections for New Zealand

How is New Zealand’s climate changing?
What could be in store for the future?

Our National Climate Centre has produced a detailed four-page information leaflet outlining NIWA’s new climate change projections. It’s the second in a series from the centre, which aims to communicate authoritative climatescience in a digestible form: reliable information, brief enough to read on the plane or train, backed by peer reviewed science and hard data.

We’re happy to provide copies free of charge to any organisation, business, government agency, school, or individual.

Contact:

NIWA National Climate Centre,
0800 RING NIWA (0800 746 4646), climate-enquiries@niwa.co.nz
Or download a copy from:
www.niwascience.co.nz/ncc/clivar/scenarios

For details of large (A1-size) maps of the projections, see the back cover.

Snow & Ice Network recording huge winter snows

Jordy Hendrikx (left), Einar Orn Hreinsson, and Sarah Tammik record snow depth and density at Arthur’s Pass village climate station. (Photo: Bill Evans, Nelson)

NIWA’s new Snow & Ice Network is fully operational for its first winter, and recent recordings are proving there’s plenty of snow around this season.

With storms hitting the Southern Alps, huge dumps of snow have been recorded at all four of the Network’s South Island monitoring stations, which operate at Mt Cook village, Arthur’s Pass, Murchison Mountains, and Albert Burn.

Mount Cook station recorded just over 60 centimetres of snow from the storm which swept up the country in the middle of August, and Albert Burn (near Wanaka) added another 50 centimetres of new snow to a base of half a metre. Murchison Mountains (near Te Anau) also got about half a metre of new snow.

Scientists from NIWA’s Snow & Ice Network team also flew into Arthur’s Pass by helicopter and recorded just over 1 metre of new snow in the village. This mission was conducted for the Department of Building and Housing, which contracts NIWA to record snowfalls over predefined thresholds (in this case, 60 centimetres at Arthur’s Pass) to help monitor snow loadings on buildings.

Until now, snow has been poorly quantified in New Zealand. The Snow & Ice Network stations measure air temperature, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, air pressure,solar radiation, and precipitation, and have an extra sensor to measure snow depth.

We’re also testing ‘snowpillows’, which weigh the snow for water content. One reason we do this is to assess the stability ofthe snow, important information for predicting avalanches.

More broadly, the monitoring will help NIWA understand seasonal snow in New Zealand more accurately, estimate how much water is stored in the mountains, and assist with calculating glacier mass balance throughout the Southern Alps.

For further information, contact:Dr Jordy Hendrikx, 0-3-348 8987, j.hendrikx@niwa.co.nz