Climate Change: The Cascade Effect
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:
Government lacks 'coordinated plan' for climate change, withheld report shows Stuff
Hotter weather will change New Zealand forever, RadioNZ
The cascading impacts of climate change, Newsroom
Research and findings:
Cascading impacts and implications for Aotearoa New Zealand, Paula Blackett, Deep South Symposium
Latest news and updates
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.
In October 2017, the Deep South Challenge released a report into the state of the nation’s storm and waste water infrastructure, in the face of a changing climate. The report garnered significant media attention – not surprising given the infrastructure is currently valued at well over $20 billion.
The Deep South Challenge awards funding to investigate climate-resilient, high-value crops for the whānau of Omaio
The whānau of Omaio in the Bay of Plenty have joined forces with NIWA researchers to explore the viability of climate-resilient, high-value crops for the rohe. The group has won a $250,000 research grant under the Vision Mātauranga programme of the Deep South National Science Challenge to better understand Omaio’s changing climate and how it might support the community to create a local economy based around a high-value product like kiwi fruit.