The Earth’s climate experiences changes caused by natural fluctuations (e.g. ENSO) as well as human influences (e.g. the burning of fossil fuels). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in their Fifth Assessment Report that warming of the climate system is ‘unequivocal’, and that rising sea level is consistent with warming, as are changes in precipitation patterns across the world.
Over 1909-2015, New Zealand has experienced warming of 0.92 ± 0.26 °C (using NIWA’s Seven Station Temperature Series). It is important to understand past trends in climate to inform projections of future climate and appropriate planning responses.
Under the Climate Present and Past project, NIWA undertakes research about climate trends in the following areas: