About Climate Change | What is Climate Change?


When we're talking about climate change, we're talking about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, day-to-day and season-to-season. Climate, however, is how weather behaves over long time scales.

We've known for over a century that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane trap heat in the atmosphere. Releasing them causes polar ice caps to melt, sea temperatures to increase, oceans to expand and sea levels to rise. Human activity – burning greenhouse gases and cutting down trees – is the main cause of climate change. 

Atua Māori attempt to maintain balance. As controllers or personifications of natural forces, they also make themselves known in the form of giant storms and massive tides. Climate change is already having drastic impacts across our planet and these will get worse. How fast it gets worse depends on whether we stop using fossil fuels and find ways to take carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere.

Nevertheless, a certain amount of change has already been “locked in”. Our ancestors are changing. Now we have to figure out how to change with them.

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The Deep South Challenge is only one organisation among many doing important climate research. We encourage you to check out these organisations:


Adrian McDonald


I’m optimistic that the younger generation particularly are going to demand action.

for change

Major ocean modelling effort leads to better climate simulations

NZESM development published in journal