Establishing a New Zealand earth system modelling capability
A project which sits at the heart of the Deep South Challenge is the construction of the NZ Earth System Model (NZESM). The NZESM is a kind of crystal ball – a mathematical model of the earth’s natural systems so intricate it can predict the effects of emissions from our atmosphere, land and seas, and the terrestrial and marine biosphere, far into the future.
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.
Latest news and updates
With Dave Frame, Belinda Storey and David Fleming
Climate change is already making day-to-day life more precarious and more expensive, both for ordinary New Zealanders and for our local and central governments. New Zealanders are increasingly interested in climate adaptation strategies. Conversations about the cost of early adaptation versus the risk of delayed action are growing in volume.
Deep South Challenge symposium created opportunities for researchers to hear directly from end-users
Remember our September symposium at Te Wharewaka ō Pōneke? Well, results are in from the surveys of participants we carried out to find out how well our aims for the symposium had been met.
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.