Ocean modelling

Latest news

Scientists have returned from a 14-day expedition to one of the most unexplored parts of the ocean.
NIWA scientists will be in Hawkes Bay this week to map the seabed to measure the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle
Researchers have developed New Zealand’s most comprehensive online atlas, providing an overview of nearly 600 marine species, to guide management and conservation of the country’s unique seafloor communities.
Prior to 15 January, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai was a little-known undersea South Pacific volcano with a long name. Within 24 hours, it  was a global phenomenon – the site of the largest atmospheric explosion in almost 150 years. Jessica Rowley looks at why a remote Tongan volcano took the world by storm.

Latest videos

Tonga eruption and tsunami shock the world

Tsunamis and shockwaves hit continents on the other side of the Pacific. The Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha'apai (HT-HH) volcano was like a massive shotgun blast from the deep, generating the biggest atmospheric explosion recorded on Earth in more than 100 years. Funded by The Nippon Foundation, NIWA and SEA-KIT surveyed over 22,000km2 surrounding the volcano, including mapping 14,000km2 of previously unmapped seafloor as part of The Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 project. Find out more: https://niwa.co.nz/news/tonga-eruption-confirmed-as-largest-ever-recorded

RV Tangaroa: New Zealand’s world-class research vessel

The ideal research platform

NIWA proudly owns and operates RV Tangaroa, a 70 m Ice Class scientific platform.
The research vessel supports oceanographic and fishery surveys throughout the South Pacific, New Zealand, the sub-Antarctic islands and the Ross Sea.

The diverse range of modern and sophisticated equipment available onboard enables sampling and measurements to be taken from the sea surface, through the water column to the seabed and below.

Tangaroa is New Zealand’s only ocean-going research vessel, equipped with dynamic positioning, allowing her to remain stationary or track a precise path over the seabed, even in the often-challenging Southern Ocean environment.

The vessel is operated by 15 full time crew employed by NIWA, highly experienced in deploying, recovering and operating a broad range of scientific equipment.

The vessel can survey the seafloor to hydrographic quality, and is able to produce high-resolution imagery of the geology up to 200m below the seabed, and even deeper using NIWA’s multichannel seismic system.
NIWA can provide or source most key equipment required for ocean science including a range of fishing nets and acoustic sounders developed for fishery and water column surveys, varying models and makes of autonomous and remotely-operated underwater vehicles, an assortment of underwater cameras, seabed landers, and moorings.

Tangaroa is an ideal vessel for ocean exploration, atmospheric, fishery and marine geology research.

Our services and expertise

NIWA has more than 40 years of experience working in New Zealand’s marine realm and has conducted 14 voyages to Antarctica and many more in sub-Antarctic waters.
We provide world-class services and expertise, and can easily adapt to support new and innovative opportunities, making every project a success.

The instruments at work - In the volcano's wake

Our team onboard RV Tangaroa are equipped with all the tech and tools they need to explore the undersea changes caused by the devastating volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this year. They’ve been using a range of nifty scientific instruments to sample all matters of the ocean from the seafloor through to the water column. The line-up includes the: - DTIS (deep-towed imaging system) - Multicorer - CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) - Glider Find out what each of them do in our video. The NIWA-Nippon Foundation Tonga Eruption Seabed Mapping Project (TESMaP) is funded by The Nippon Foundation and also supported by The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed2030 Project which aims to map the world’s ocean floor by 2030. Learn more on our website: https://niwa.co.nz/our-science/voyages/2022-tonga-post-eruption

Mapping the Tongan volcano eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai

This important scientific voyage represents a significant opportunity to map the changes in the seafloor and collect samples to understand how the geology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem health has been impacted. Up until the eruption on 15th January, the volcano caldera sat approximately 150 m below sea level and part of the volcano connected the islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha'apai. Following the eruption, the islands are smaller and no longer joined together. The scientists are surveying thousands of square kilometres of the seafloor and collecting video images of the eruption’s impact, and using SEA-KIT International’s Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) Maxlimer to conduct further mapping. The NIWA-Nippon Foundation Tonga Eruption Seabed Mapping Project (TESMaP) is funded by The Nippon Foundation and also supported by The Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed2030 Project which aims to map the world’s ocean floor by 2030. Follow the voyage here: https://niwa.co.nz/our-science/voyages/2022-tonga-post-eruption

Location of Total Carbon Column Network Observing Sites (as of November 2009). GOSAT is the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

This schematic shows how greenhouse gas measurements are made for the Total Carbon Column Observing Network at NIWA's Lauder Atmospheric Research Station in Central Otago, New Zealand.

This is a description of technical terms used in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network project page.

NIWA and IBM today announced a multi-million dollar partnership where NIWA will purchase one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for use in environmental forecasting.

This project was undertaken for Auckland Regional Council to identify significant sources of contaminants in the central Waitemata and southeastern Manukau Harbours.

Journal papers

Clark, M.R, Dunn, M.R., McMillan, P.J., Pinkerton, M.H., Stewart, A., Hanchet, S.M. (2010). Latitudinal variation of demersal fish assemblages in the western Ross Sea. Antarctic Science 22: 782–792.

Dunn, A., Hanchet, S.M. (2010). Assessment models for Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) in the Ross Sea including data from the 2006–07 season. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2010/1. 28 p.

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All staff working on this subject

Coastal Marine Ecologist
Hydro-ecological Modeller
Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
Atmospheric Modeller
Population Modeller
Principal Scientist - Climate
Principal Scientist - Catchment Processes
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Principal Scientist - Fisheries Modeller
Principal Scientist - Natural Hazards and Hydrodynamics
Principal Scientist - Marine Ecology
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Regional Ocean Modelling System (ROMS) Numerical Modeller
Fisheries Scientist (Quantitative Stock Assessment)
Principal Scientist - Carbon Chemistry and Modelling
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
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Principal Scientist - Research Software Engineering
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NWP/CFD Modeller and Analyst
Surface Water - Groundwater Modeller
Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
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Marine Physics Modeller
Principal Scientist - Natural Hazards and Hydrodynamics
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