Climate Change: The Cascade Effect

A car driving through flooding on Tamaki Drive as waves crash onto the road ahead

Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand

The impacts of increases in temperature, rainfall, sea levels and extreme events will cascade across all sectors of society. Our assets, communities and social and economic interactions will all be affected.

As the effects of these changes become more frequent through flooding, coastal inundation and drought, we’ll have less time to recover and there will be cumulative consequences. In addition, as different sectors respond to the changes, there is potential for impacts to compound through the economy.

The Deep South Challenge focusses on four major climate-related impacts: extreme weather events, drought, changes in average weather patterns and sea level rise. The flow-on effects of these changes and their interactions raise many interrelated questions for decision makers and planners at all levels of decision making and across all sectors, such as:

  • How will sea level rise affect transport links regionally, coastal communities and the infrastructure on which they depend?
  • How will changes in seasonal temperatures affect fruit growers, their business, their access to ports and airports, and how will this in turn impact local and national economies?

The interconnected – or cascading – social and economic impacts are the focus of this research, which builds on the Climate Change Impacts and Implications (CCII) work completed in 2016. Working with local government, infrastructure and financial sectors, our researchers will use climate modelling information and socio-economic scenarios, alongside the realities of representative regional communities, to better understand the scale of climate change implications for Aotearoa New Zealand.

By understanding the cascading nature of the impacts of climate change, decision makers will be better able to plan, adapt and manage risks.

Project contact: Judy Lawrence, Victoria University of Wellington
Project budget: $291,800
Project duration: July 2016 – June 2018

This project in the media:
The cascading impacts of climate change, Newsroom

Research and findings:
Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand, Paula Blackett, Deep South Symposium


Return to the Impacts & Implications programme page
Check out the full list of Deep South Challenge projects

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