Evaluating the NZESM against modern & historical observations
Assessing and validating the NZESM using modern and historic observations
The NZ Earth System Model (NZESM) is designed to simulate how our climate will change over the coming decades. It’s highly complex, modelling everything from weather systems to changes in Antarctic sea ice, ocean temperatures to stratospheric chemistry.
The complexity of the NZESM means that any shortcomings in one component of the model can compromise the fidelity of the entire model. We’re testing the ability of the model to simulate reality by comparing its results against modern and historical observations. If, in comparison with past climate and atmospheric chemical composition data, the model accurately replicates the past, we can have increased confidence that the model includes the appropriate processes needed to simulate future changes in climate.
To gather comprehensive historical climate data about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, our project sees scientists and historians working together to recover meteorological observations over the southern hemisphere made as far back as 1850. We’re also constructing global records on ozone and other gases that absorb or emit radiation. Ozone changes have had a major impact on New
Zealand’s climate in the past, and it’s likely this will be the case in the future.
With these datasets, we can thoroughly test the NZESM and, in doing so, contribute to more accurate simulations of our future climate.
Project contact: Stefanie Kremser, Bodeker Scientific
Project budget: $1.1 million
Project duration: 2015 – 2019
This project in the media:
The 'weather detectives' using clues from the past to study changing climate, Stuff.co.nz
Research and findings:
ACRE Antarctica: Data rescue to improve understanding of The Deep South weather & climate, Petra Pearce et al, AMOS/NZMS Conference Canberra
An automated satellite cloud classification scheme using self-organizing maps: Alternative ISCCP weather states, Adrian McDonald et al, Journal of Geophysical Research
Assessing and validating NZESM, S. Kremser, J. Lewis, and G.E. Bodeker, 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.