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If you think science and art have nothing in common, think again. At environmental science institute NIWA, it’s all about one inspiring the other.
A weekly update describing soil moisture across the country to help assess whether severely to extremely dry conditions are occurring or imminent. Regions experiencing these soil moisture deficits are deemed “hotspots”. Persistent hotspot regions have the potential to develop into drought.
As a young child growing up on an Irish farm, one of Eimear Egan’s chores was to regularly clean out the well from where her family drew its drinking water. In the well lived a large eel that, no matter how many times it was shifted, just kept coming back.
A group of intrepid scientists leaves Wellington for Antarctica this week on board NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa for what their leader calls “a voyage of discovery”.

Ross Sea Environment and Ecosystem Voyage 2019

A leopard seal, who has made the balmy waters around Auckland home, is prompting a NIWA scientist to campaign for her to be made a New Zealand citizen.
Based at Bream Bay, Whangarei, Crispin Middleton is also an acclaimed underwater photographer and the recipient of numerous photography awards. His work regularly appears in New Zealand Geographic, dive magazines, scientific journals and conservation/ government documents.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 
Across the North Island, soil moisture levels either decreased slightly or remained the same during the past week. Across the South Island, soil moisture remained near normal or above normal in the central and eastern part of the island during the past week while areas in the west have near normal or below normal soil moisture.
A NIWA-led team of marine ecologists are using seal-mounted cameras to get a first-hand view into the behaviour and movements of Weddell seals under the Antarctic ice.
NIWA scientists have made an important breakthrough in the battle to save New Zealand’s freshwater mussels.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in an area stretching from coastal Manawatu-Whanganui northeast to Taupo. The driest soils across the South Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in far southern Westland District. A small hotspot has emerged in Nelson in the past week.
A new hotspot emerged in the Rangitikei District in Manawatu-Wanganui during the past week. This is the only current hotspot in the North Island. There are currently no hotspots in the South Island.
All previous hotspots in the North Island dissipated this past week due to the heavy rainfall. Substantial rainfall in the past week caused the small hotspot in northwestern Marlborough to dissipate, and no other hotspots are currently in place in the South Island.
The diary and hand-drawn maps of a nineteenth century geologist has enabled NIWA scientists to confirm the former site of the iconic Pink and White Terraces at Lake Rotomahana.
A trio of lead authors from NIWA has been named alongside the Ministry for the Environment and others as joint winner of the 2018 Terry Healy Coastal Project Award.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in parts of Northland, Taupo, and Tararua District. A small hotspot is currently in place in northwestern Marlborough.
An abnormal El Niño weather event is looking likely for New Zealand over summer, according to NIWA meteorologist Ben Noll.
The driest soils across the North Island compared to normal for this time of the year are found in Whangarei and Kaipara districts, along with Taupo and Tararua. No hotspots are currently in place in the South Island.
The largest hotspot in the North Island continues to be found in Napier and southern Hastings District. A new, very small hotspot has also emerged this week near Cape Reinga. No hotspots are currently in place in the South Island.
NIWA researchers are out on the Hauraki Gulf this week to find out more about the nurseries of young snapper.

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