Improving predictions and understanding Deep South drivers of New Zealand’s climate

  • Project funding: $1.4 million
  • Project Duration: Initially 2015-2019

Improving predictions of New Zealand’s climate requires better understanding and more accurate simulation of the key influences on the climate in New Zealand. Trends and variability in mean climate are important, but we also need to understand the nature of extreme events, how they are changing, and what influences them.

Using a climate model-based approach, this project will deliver two key results:

  • predictions of climate out to 10 years, using observations to constrain the initial state of climate in the NZESM, and
  • an evaluation of likely changes in extremes in weather and climate in the future.

Because extremes are rare, this requires undertaking large ensembles of climate model simulations. Such ensembles will be generated by utilizing the power of home computers, offering a unique opportunity for participation in the project by New Zealanders through the weatherathome system, a form of citizen science. This will allow members of the public to learn about climate and how to predict it using models, run experiments on their own computers and watch the weather patterns develop in their own unique simulation of the Earth, or even investigate the results as they are returned.

This project offers a framework for developing decadal forecasts using the ESM, in contrast to the centennial scale projections that will be done in the ESM capability project. Internationally, the area of seasonal-to-decadal climate research has grown rapidly over the last several years, and this has been reflected in the most recent IPCC Assessment Report.

Primary Contact and Principle Investigator:

  • Professor Dave Frame, Victoria University of Wellington, Dave.Frame@vuw.ac.nz

Dave’s main research interests focus on the interface between climate science and policy. His two main areas of research are in simple modelling and climate policy, and understanding more about the climate response and future change. More information on Dave’s work can be found here.

Project Partners:

  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • NIWA
  • UK Met Office
  • University of Oxford (UK)
  • University of Melbourne (Australia)
  • University of Tasmania (Australia)

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