Climate change

Climate change effects are accelerating, driving the need for actions informed by sound climate knowledge.

Climate change

NIWA is committed to providing the science needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks, maximise opportunities, foster climate resilience and work towards a carbon-neutral economy.

“When it comes to climate change we are in the beautiful position of knowing what our choices are. We can feel a real sense of opportunity about the future - what role our science can play, and how people can contribute”

Dr Sam Dean, Chief Scientist, Climate, Atmosphere and Hazards

Knowledge is power

Our scientists provide the knowledge key for evidence-based decision-making and for our society as a whole.

Well-informed, better prepared

Our scientists provide the knowledge key for evidence-based decision-making and for our society as a whole.

Assess the risks, plan proactively

NIWA science is driving progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies

Science is a foundation for effective action on climate change

NIWA science is driving progress on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Our solutions-focused science



Making a difference

Here is a snapshot of some scientists working on climate change at NIWA.


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“You can say what you want about temperature on the ground but you can’t make a glacier lie” - Dr Andrew Lorrey

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"It’s imperative that scientists like myself are not just monitoring impacts, but also seeking solutions to climate change and ocean acidification" - Dr Cliff Law

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“Time spent in drought may double or triple this century for parts of New Zealand - NIWA is committed to helping our agriculture and other drought-sensitive sectors adapt to these projected changes” - Dr Andrew Tait

[Photographs: Dave Allen]

The signs of global warming are everywhere

“Climate change is not just about changing temperatures”

Dr Rob Murdoch, General Manager - Research

The latest climate change facts you need to know:


Climate change resources

Climate change resources

  • What is climate change and why is it happening? 
  • What does El Niño and La Niña mean exactly? 
  • What is the greenhouse effect? 
  • What does climate change mean for New Zealand? 
  • What is a climate model? What is ocean acidification?

Find out more about climate change


Our videography and photography team is passionate about promoting our science, engaging people directly with compelling stories and imagery.

Watch more climate change videos

Latest news

A senior NIWA scientist is concerned many councils are having difficulty “getting off the starting blocks” when it comes to planning for coastal climate change.
One of the world's leading scientific publishers has named a paper cowritten by a NIWA scientist as one of 250 groundbreaking findings that could "help change the world".
Spare a thought for Fieldays exhibitors putting the final touches to their stands tomorrow – it’s going to be wet.
NIWA is encouraging farmers to plan for climate change so they can maximise their abilities to adapt and thrive as significant change begins to take place.
In climate science, there are a number of accepted methods to account for missing data in temperature series. This note explains in technical terms what we did for the 11-station series.

NIWA scientists say concentrations of ozone high in the atmosphere are projected to increase.

Welcome to the second edition of Asia-Pacific Update, our newsletter focusing on NIWA's international work in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Australia. In this edition we focus on some of our recent aquatic biodiversity and biosecurity work in the region.

The statement made by NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Keith Lassey in a TV3 news story about methane (22 Dec 2009) is correct.

The concentration of methane in the atmosphere is rising, according to measurements made by NIWA.

NIWA's long-running 'seven-station' series shows NZ's average annual temperature has increased by about 1 °C over the past 100 years.
There are many lines of evidence showing that NZ has warmed during the past century.

New Zealand temperature trends from a set of eleven climate stations with no significant site changes since the 1930s

Rescuing Pacific Island climate data

NIWA climate scientists are working with Pacific Island National Meteorological Services to ‘rescue’ their climate records. Digitising data held only in paper-based records protects them from degradation. It also makes the data much more readily available for analysis, potentially contributing to a better understanding of long-term climate variation.

Location of Total Carbon Column Network Observing Sites (as of November 2009). GOSAT is the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.

This schematic shows how greenhouse gas measurements are made for the Total Carbon Column Observing Network at NIWA's Lauder Atmospheric Research Station in Central Otago, New Zealand.

This is a description of technical terms used in the Total Carbon Column Observing Network project page.

NIWA's research station at Lauder in Central Otago specialises in measuring CFCs, ozone, UV levels and greenhouse gases and has a wide range of world-class instruments and research scientists.

Three new posters of the Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour seabed reveal for the first time a treasure trove of detailed information for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

14 September 2009 - Port of New Orleans CEO, Gary La Grange, is in Wellington to talk about the lessons New Orleans learnt from its recovery from Hurricane Katrina and how these experiences can help protect coastal and port areas worldwide. Mr La Grange is one of the keynote speakers at the Australasian Coasts and Ports Conference at Te Papa Tongarewa, from 16-18 September 2009.

NIWA and IBM today announced a multi-million dollar partnership where NIWA will purchase one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers for use in environmental forecasting.

Our oceans are expected to become more acidic as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. This will likely have impacts on the plankton, which play a major role in ocean ecosystems and processes.
NIWA is conducting a five–year study to map changes in the distribution of plankton species in surface waters between New Zealand and the Ross Sea.
These studies extended NIWA's regional climate modelling work, addressing future changes in drought risk and extreme winds under a warming climate.

Climate data and common terms explaining the causes and effects of climate change.


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