Petra's main research area is historical climatology, which involves recovering, digitizing (photographing/scanning) and keying historic weather records from New Zealand, the Pacific, and the Southern Ocean for input into global reanalyses (e.g. 20th Century Reanalysis).
She produces climate change projection and impact guidance reports, maps, and GIS data for Regional Councils and other clients (https://www.niwa.co.nz/node/111861). So far, she has worked on climate change guidance for Northland, Auckland, Horizons, Wellington, Tasman and Southland Regional Councils.
She is the Project Manager for New Zealand climate summaries, which are issued monthly, seasonally, and annually to assess New Zealand’s recent climate over those timescales, and how this compares to the long-term climate record (https://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/summaries).
Other work involves analyzing climate data in the National Climate Database for various clients, predominantly in the construction and primary industries. She is also involved in NIWA's seasonal climate outlook products that are produced for the public as well as commercial clients, and the Island Climate Update (https://www.niwa.co.nz/climate/icu). Petra regularly gives presentations to schools and community groups about climate change.