Climate change

Climate change effects are accelerating, driving the need for actions informed by sound climate knowledge.

Climate change

NIWA is committed to providing the science needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks, maximise opportunities, foster climate resilience and work towards a carbon-neutral economy.

“When it comes to climate change we are in the beautiful position of knowing what our choices are. We can feel a real sense of opportunity about the future - what role our science can play, and how people can contribute”

Dr Sam Dean, Principal Scientist, Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards

The latest climate change facts you need to know:

Latest news

Understanding how the Antarctic oceans work is vital to predicting the world’s future climate and the implications of climate change for humankind and the planet.

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.

NIWA is bringing together decision makers and influencers from across New Zealand this month to shape the science we need to respond to our changing climate.
Dr Sara Mikaloff-Fletcher is looking to turn the internationally accepted science of monitoring greenhouse gas emissions upside down – and the rest of the world is watching closely.

Our work

NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.
Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.
Regional-scale climate projections assist New Zealand’s local government authorities to adequately assess the local risks presented by climate change now and prepare their communities for the future impacts of climate change.

The process of developing a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for climate change was established under the 2010 Cancun Adaptation Framework. NAPs are forward-looking, holistic plans which are generally country-driven, given the local nature of adapting to climate change.

Latest videos

Our Climate is Changing

Our climate is changing - we need to act now.

Glaciers Don't Lie

If you think New Zealand's Southern Alps are shielded from climate change – take a look at this. "You can't make a glacier lie.”

Ocean acidification - what is it?

The on-going rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is not only changing our climate—it is also changing our oceans. Take a look at the work of the NIWA-led CARIM project into what these changes may mean for the delicate balance of marine life.

NIWA Blake Ambassadors vlog1

26 October 2018. NIWA Blake Ambassadors, Lana Young and Siobhan O'Connor and SalpPOOP voyage leader Dr Moira Decima check out sampled salps from different depths.

Te Huringa ki te Rangi is a decision-making model to support indigenous and coastal communities who are grappling to understand and evaluate climate change impacts and risks, and how to integrate these into their development plans for the future.
A NIWA-led team has today been awarded a multi-million dollar research grant that will help drive major advances in understanding of New Zealand’s carbon emissions and uptake
A senior NIWA scientist is concerned many councils are having difficulty “getting off the starting blocks” when it comes to planning for coastal climate change.
Climate change scenarios through to 2110

Features temperature change, increase in hot days, decrease in frost, drought indicator, rainfall patterns through to 2110 under two ICPP scenarios.

Climate change touch screen - Fieldays
The touch screen in action at Fieldays.revealing how our climate will change across the country.
One of the world's leading scientific publishers has named a paper cowritten by a NIWA scientist as one of 250 groundbreaking findings that could "help change the world".
Spare a thought for Fieldays exhibitors putting the final touches to their stands tomorrow – it’s going to be wet.
NIWA is encouraging farmers to plan for climate change so they can maximise their abilities to adapt and thrive as significant change begins to take place.
NIWA science is driving progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Our scientists provide the knowledge key for evidence-based decision-making and for our society as a whole.
Massive increases in computing power are allowing NIWA scientists to not only analyse more data, faster, but also to envisage completely new experiments.
New Zealand’s glaciers have all retreated and lost volume since NIWA started surveying them in 1977.
NIWA has joined forces with Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology to issue a joint Special Climate Statement about unusual weather patterns over summer.
Climate scientists and glaciologists are taking to the skies this week to find out how New Zealand’s glaciers are faring following this summer’s record-breaking warmth.
Ancient swamp kauri is being used by NIWA scientists to reveal the secrets of past climates.
Despite a sub-tropical storm and two ex-tropical cyclones, this summer is about to become the hottest in history.

John McGregor from NIWA checks on the instruments that measure atmospheric gases throughout our voyage.

Auckland region climate change projections and impacts | Auckland Council

Auckland Council and Council Controlled Organisations commissioned NIWA to provide climate change projections, including high-resolution maps for the Auckland Region.

A two-week expedition to tag blue whales in New Zealand waters for the first time, almost came up empty due to warmer sea temperatures causing the animals to change their behaviour.

Hazard risk is compounding in low-lying coastal areas of New Zealand, because hazard events are occurring more often (on the back of a rising sea), while at the same time coastal development and property/infrastructure values are increasing.

Rapid warming of the ocean near Tasmania may provide a good indication of how the water around New Zealand will change as the planet warms, say NIWA scientists.

New Zealand winters are a month shorter than they were 80 years ago, NIWA scientists say.

“This is a consequence of rising temperatures around the globe, and such trends in colder temperatures and frosts will influence the life cycle of plants and animals” - Dr Brett Mullan.

A dramatic change in sea ice this year is likely to hamper a NIWA-led research project aiming to better understand how ice shelves will melt as the ocean warms.
A decade of scientific research into how ocean acidification is affecting New Zealand waters has led to far greater understanding of the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems, according to a newly published review.

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Key contacts

Chief Scientist - Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Climate Applications
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
Principal Scientist - Climate

All staff working on this subject

Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Biogeochemistry Technician
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Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes Scientist
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere
Principal Scientist-Marine Biogeochemistry
Principal Scientist - Climate Applications
Emeritus Researcher – Atmospheric Radiation
Principal Scientist - Atmosphere and Climate
Principal Scientist - Climate
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Marine Physics Modeller
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Freshwater Fisheries Ecologist
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Physical Oceanographer
Principal Scientist - Coastal and Estuarine Physical Processes
Chief Scientist - Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards
Atmospheric Scientist
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Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Environmental Economist
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