Earth System Modelling and Prediction

A view from the bottom of an icy crevasse as a figure rappels down

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.


Funded projects

Primary contact and science lead

Dr Olaf Morgenstern, NIWA


Latest news and updates

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