Providing climate change advice to New Zealand’s regions

NIWA contacts: 

Background

NIWA developed national-scale climate change projections following the release of the Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013. These New Zealand projections were published by the Ministry for the Environment in 2016

The problem

The impact of future climate change will vary in different parts of New Zealand. For example, the west coast of the South Island is projected to experience more rainfall than at present, whereas the east of the South Island is projected to experience reductions in rainfall. Therefore, the impact of response to future climate change will be region-specific. 

Regional-scale climate change projections may be more useful for New Zealand's local governments than those provided at the national scale by the Ministry for the Environment, so that they can adequately assess the local risks presented by climate change to prepare their communities  for the future impacts of climate change. 

The solution

NIWA has provided regional-scale high resolution maps and detailed reports to four regional councils so far—Northland Regional Council, Horizons Regional Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and Tasman District Council (links below). 

Along with descriptions of the projected future changes to different climate variables, including  rainfall, temperature, snow, hot days, frosts, solar radiation,  these reports have been tailored to each region following discussions about sectors of concern. These may include impacts of climate change on biodiversity, biosecurity, river flows, aquaculture, agriculture, storm surge, and groundwater, among others. 

Results

High resolution (5 km x 5 km) maps have been produced at the regional scale. These maps show projections for a large range of climate variables at two different time periods during the 21st century (2040 and 2090) and for two different climate change scenarios that were developed by the IPCC

Climate variables that were mapped include temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity, soil moisture, and solar radiation. GIS layers of the climate projections have also been provided so that the councils may use them in their planning processes.

The maps have been provided with a detailed regional-specific report that places projected future climate changes in the context of natural variability in the region, as well as impacts and implications of climate change on sectors of concern, for example agriculture, biodiversity, biosecurity, river flows, among many other sectors (varies by region).

View more information about climate change scenarios under the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and NIWA’s work in developing the national-scale climate change projections.  

Outputs

Greater Wellington Regional Council: Climate change (in your community)

Greater Wellington Regional Council summary report [PDF 2MB]

Northland Regional Council: Climate change in Northland.

Horizons Regional Council: Climate change and and variability - Horizons Region

Tasman District Council: Climate change and variability report for Tasman District Council

Page last updated: 
12 September 2017