Atmosphere

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Without the global CFC ban we’d already be facing the reality of a “scorched earth”, according to researchers measuring the impact of the Montreal Protocol.
For a small group of unassuming buildings nestled amongst the wide-open spaces of the Maniototo, the Lauder Atmospheric Research Station punches well above its weight.
A NIWA-led collaboration is seeing atmospheric measurements taken from Antarctica’s Ross Island added to a highly respected international climate data reference network.
A Central Otago scientific research station with a globally revered reputation is marking its 60th anniversary.

Our work

The current method for calculating wind speed-up is inadequate, and can grossly under-predict correct design wind speeds in NZ's complex terrain.

This research project focusses on modelling atmospheric chemistry and climate from the surface to the top of the stratosphere, using sophisticated chemistry-climate models.

Latest videos

The laser lady of Lauder

By day Penny Smale is a mum to two young boys, living on a rural property in the middle of a farming district in Central Otago.
By night, she leaves home, walks the short distance to what is essentially a large outbuilding in a paddock, and fires lasers into the sky. Penny operates a Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) instrument at the Lauder research station in Central Otago.  Essentially, she fires lasers into the sky and uses a telescope to measure what comes back.

Without the global CFC ban we’d already be facing the reality of a “scorched earth”, according to researchers measuring the impact of the Montreal Protocol.
For a small group of unassuming buildings nestled amongst the wide-open spaces of the Maniototo, the Lauder Atmospheric Research Station punches well above its weight.
A NIWA-led collaboration is seeing atmospheric measurements taken from Antarctica’s Ross Island added to a highly respected international climate data reference network.
A Central Otago scientific research station with a globally revered reputation is marking its 60th anniversary.
This lesson explores the things we can all do to improve our air quality.
A new international study using ancient swamp kauri from Northland shows a temporary breakdown of Earth’s magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts leading to global environmental change and mass extinctions.
Peter Sperlich needs a strong south-westerly and a cast iron stomach for his next scientific mission.
We can explore how the world may change due to climate change by creating climate models.
Some of the most striking images of lockdown around the world have been the blue skies of cities ordinarily choking in smog. From New Delhi to Los Angeles, Beijing to Paris, the changes were so remarkable they were visible from space.
New Zealand’s climate can be defined as ‘temperate’. However, every so often we experience extremes.
This lesson will explore the use of Māori environmental indicators [tohu] to anticipate local weather and climate conditions.
Once in a while the weather becomes much more dangerous – what meteorologists call severe weather.
NIWA scientists have set up air quality sensors every 100 metres across Arrowtown in what is believed to be the world’s densest air monitoring network.
Changes in NZ air quality due to COVID-19 level 4 lockdown Update 6 – fourth full week of level 4 restrictions for Thursday 23rd April 2020
A blob of smoke from the Australian bushfires is continuing to circle the globe almost four months after it formed.
Pollution levels in our main cities are continuing to fall as a result of the nationwide lockdown, says NIWA.
In week 3 levels of oxides of nitrogen (or NOx, representing mainly vehicle exhaust pollutants) in our major cities fell even further, with reductions of 83 – 91 % relative to normal at most sites.
The large reductions in traffic pollution in our major cities seen during week 1 of lockdown have been maintained during week 2.
NIWA scientists say air quality has dramatically improved in Auckland since the COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown was instigated.
Researchers at NIWA’s Lauder atmospheric research station in Central Otago have measured prolonged carbon monoxide concentrations well above normal levels.
Air samples from the native Fiordland forest are being collected by researchers as one of the first steps in an ambitious new NIWA-led project to reassess New Zealand’s carbon budget.
On the eve of the 30th anniversary since the Montreal Protocol came into force, new research by NIWA scientists reinforces its reputation as the world’s most successful environmental treaty.

CO2 levels measured at Baring Head

The graph shows carbon dioxide (CO2) levels measured at Baring Head, NIWA’s clean air station, near Wellington. This station has been running since 1972 and is home to the longest running continuous CO2 measurements in the Southern Hemisphere.

The on-going rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that is fuelling climate change is also driving significant changes in the waters off our coasts.

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Climate
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere
Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation
Principal Scientist - Carbon Chemistry and Modelling
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
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Principal Scientist - Research Software Engineering
Atmospheric Scientist
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Atmospheric Technician
Atmospheric Scientist
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Principal Technician - Climate and Risk Applications Developer
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