Research Project

National flood risks & climate change

Emergent exposure of flood inundation hazards under future climate change in New Zealand

Floods are some of New Zealand’s most frequent, most damaging and most disruptive natural hazards. As our climate changes, flooding caused by both increased rainfall and rising sea levels – in coastal areas and on floodplains – is expected to increase.

National flood risks & climate change Deep South Challenge

As floods worsen, so will the social, cultural, economic and environmental consequences. Pinpointing exactly which areas are most at risk can be difficult, especially as extreme weather events become more frequent and less predictable.

There’s not a lot of information currently available to central and local government about exactly what infrastructure is at risk. The information produced through this research is urgently needed to help identify high-risk areas and prioritise mitigation and adaptation efforts.

This project has produced flood maps and models that allow practitioners and researchers to identify how flood risk may evolve in their area. These models determine which assets – like buildings, roads, bridges and railway lines – are at risk, on both a regional and national level.

We have created digital elevation models using data collected from councils across New Zealand. We have completed coastal and fluvial/pluvial flood inundation mapping, as a crucial step towards developing a nationwide flood hazard map.

If we can accurately predict the areas of highest risk, we can adapt, minimising harm to New Zealand’s population and economy.

NOTE: The data produced by this research is available to directly help those people whose job it is to manage flood risk. Contact our Climate Change Knowledge Broker for support.

This project in the media:

PROJECT TEAM

  • Ryan Paulick

    NIWA
  • Rob Bell

    NIWA
  • Daniel Collins

    NIWA
  • Scott Stephens

    NIWA
  • Ben Robinson

    NIWA
  • Sanjay Wadhwa

    NIWA
  • Sam Dean

    NIWA
  • Gabriella Turek

    NIWA