National hydrological and water resource impacts of climate change

Project Duration: 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2019

Project Budget: $ 400,000

This century, climate change is projected to alter New Zealand’s hydrological cycle in complex ways, inducing shifts in snow, ice and soil water stores, as well as evaporative, river and groundwater flows. These impacts will have implications for a wide variety of freshwater uses and hazards central to the country’s environmental, economic, social and cultural well-being. In order to provide the foundation for comprehensive analyses of these impacts and implications, this project will carry out a national study of the potential effects of climate change on the entire hydrological cycle is needed. CMIP5-based climate change projections will be used to drive physically based hydrological modelling from 1971 to 2100. Hydrological states and fluxes will be analysed for changes in their temporal and spatial statistics and interpreted in the context of the changing climate, including the time of emergence of the climate change signal. The implications of these changes will be further assessed in terms of the major water resource issues of agricultural water resources, hydropower potential, and flooding. In order to provide the necessary tools for managing floods in the changing climate, a method for non-stationary flood frequency analysis will be developed for New Zealand.

Principal Investigators

Contact: Dr Daniel Collins, NIWA, (03) 343 8033

Dr Christian Zammit, NIWA


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