Earth System Modelling and Prediction
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 sits 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 means that we no longer need to base our climate projections on overseas models. This is important because due to their focus on the Northern Hemisphere climate, overseas models often poorly represent some processes in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The resulting biases can 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 hasn't started from scratch. Existing models provide important building blocks that apply anywhere, and our modellers are supported by strong collaborations with overseas partners.
One of few national Earth System Models in the world
Notably, this work puts Aotearoa New Zealand in with the handful of other countries that run their own earth system models, and gives us the resource and expertise to contribute to global climate modelling efforts.
Keep up-to-date with our modelling programme
Keep up-to-date with our modelling programme and find more information about our planned simulations, including how and when global models will be downscaled for New Zealand, at the NZESM page, here.
The following projects have been funded under the Earth System Modelling and Prediction programme:
- Simulating New Zealand's changing climate
- The Southern Ocean in a warming world (joint project with the Processes and Observations programme)
- Antarctic sea ice (joint project with the Processes and Observations programme)
- Melting ice in the NZESM
- Clouds & aerosols over the Southern Ocean (joint project with the Processes and Observations programme)
- New methods to simulate Southern Ocean clouds
- Sulfate aerosols over the Southern Ocean
- Stratospheric chemistry in the NZESM
- Evaluating the NZESM against modern & historical observations (joint project with the Processes and Observations programme)
- Testing the NZESM through a single vertical column
- Near-term climate predictions for New Zealand
- Weather@Home (a sub-project of Near-term climate predictions for New Zealand)
Have a look at all Deep South Challenge projects
Primary contact and science lead
Latest news and updates
2018 may well be the year New Zealand gets serious about adapting to our changing climate. Last year, and the start of this one, gave all of us plenty of opportunities to experience a future in which creeping sea level rise and extreme weather – from drought to flood to surprise storm surges – make day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive.
Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.
Q&A with NIWA's sea ice researcher Natalie Robinson