Earth System Modelling and Prediction

Model output showing the bottom of Australia and New Zealand

Developing and utilising the New Zealand Earth System Model to produce improved projections of climate change.

The focus of this programme is to assemble the first New Zealand Earth System Model (NZESM), which will sit in the heart of the Deep South Challenge work.

An Earth System Model combines the physical processes of atmospheric and oceanic circulation with the chemical and biological processes that impact the Earth system.

Earth system models inform international assessments of climate, such as the assessment reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Addressing limitations of international models

Developing the NZESM will mean that we no longer need to base climate projections on overseas models. This is important because due to their focus on Northern Hemisphere climate, overseas models often poorly represent some processes in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The resulting biases can then have serious consequences for the quality of projections over Aotearoa-New Zealand.

Building on existing work and collaboration

The development of the New Zealand Earth System Model will not start from scratch. Existing models provide important building blocks that apply anywhere, and our modellers will be supported by strong collaborations with overseas partners.

One of few national Earth System Models in the world

Notably, this work will put Aotearoa-New Zealand in with the handful of other countries that run their own Earth System Models, and give us the resource and expertise to contribute to global climate modelling efforts.

Primary Contact and Science Lead

Dr Olaf Morgenstern, NIWA

Funded projects

Latest news and updates

Deep South Challenge tackles crucial task of understanding and adapting to climate change

On Monday 4 September, Minister for Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith will open the inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium at the Wharewaka (Wellington waterfront), about how New Zealand can and must change in line with our changing climate.

DSC Seminar #3: Dr Huhana Smith on Climate Change and Coastal Māori Communities

“We need to keep designing opportunities for iwi and hapū to see the potential of what adaptive change can look like.”—Dr Huhana Smith

DSC Seminar #2: Dr Jonny Williams and the NZ earth system model

In the second of the Deep South Challenge seminar series, Jonny will introduce us to climate and earth system modelling, show how the NZESM fits within the Deep South Challenge and discuss how the NZESM contributes to understanding our climate future.