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.
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. Information is urgently needed to help identify high-risk areas and prioritise mitigation and adaptation efforts.
This project will produce scientific models that allow practitioners and researchers to identify how flood risk may evolve in their area. These models will determine which assets – like buildings, roads, bridges and railway lines – are at risk, on both a regional and national level.
The models produced by this research will be available in open access software called RiskScape, developed by NIWA and GNS Science, to directly help those people whose job it is to manage flood risk. If we can accurately predict the areas of highest risk, we can adapt, minimising harm to New Zealand’s population and economy.
Project contact: Ryan Paulik, NIWA
Project budget: $205,000
Project duration: July 2017 – June 2019
This project in the media:
Funding announced for climate resilience research, Scoop.co.nz
Research and findings:
Emergent exposure of flood inundation hazards under future climate change in New Zealand, Ryan Paulik, 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.