New funding for Deep South National Science Challenge


The Deep South National Science Challenge today announced new funding for seven new scientific research projects to help New Zealanders better understand their future climate.

The new projects, worth $1.5 million, range from investigating Antarctic sea ice using drones, to improving predictions and understanding of the drivers of New Zealand’s climate, to exploring the cascading impacts and implications of climate change for Aotearoa New Zealand.

This follows an announcement of $9 million last November for six projects to begin the process of developing New Zealand’s first world-class numerical Earth System Model. This will simulate current climate and possible future climates under different scenarios of future global greenhouse gas emissions. The New Zealand Earth Systems Model will help advance understanding of Southern Hemisphere influences on the global climate and ultimately give New Zealanders a greater level of certainty in their planning and decision-making in the face of a changing climate.

New projects announced

The new projects allocated by the challenge-wide funding are:

  • Improving the simulation of stratospheric chemistry in the New Zealand Earth System Model, led by NIWA, Wellington
  • Seasonality of Southern Ocean Dynamics from Antarctic radiocarbon observations, led by GNS Science
  • Climate model evaluation using satellite simulators: A like for like methodology, led by University of Canterbury
  • Te Tai Uka a Pia - Iwi relationships with Antarctic and the Southern Oceans to enhance adaptation to Climate Change, led by University of Waikato
  • Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand, led by Victoria University of Wellington
  • Versatile 4D drones for observations of Deep-South key Earth system processes, led by University of Canterbury
  • Developing capacity in process assessment and improvement in NZESM through the use of the single column version of the model, led by Bodeker Scientific

Improving climate models

Challenge director Prof Dave Frame said: “These are bold and exciting projects and we’re looking forward to seeing them get underway. The physical science projects will help us improve climate models, which is important since climate models are the only tools that allow us to develop a coherent understanding of climate drivers and how they interact. It’s also good to be able to fund proposals which link Deep South research to society in constructive and useful ways.”

This funding is the latest allocation of money for the Challenge, which is one of 11 Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-funded initiatives aimed at taking a more strategic and collaborative approach to science investment.

More details about each project can be found at the Deep South Challenge website

Research subject: Climate change