Climate change

What is climate change?

Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere (mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) act like the outside covering of a greenhouse - trapping warmth from the sun and making life on Earth possible.

What's happened though is our increasing greenhouse gas emissions from things like transportation, industry, energy production, agriculture and deforestation are causing our planet to heat at a faster rate. Once this global warming affects our weather patterns and climate, it is referred to as climate change.

The Ministry for the Environment website has a section outlining the implications of climate change for New Zealand, what they're are doing about it, and their reporting commitments.

Climate change in Northland

Some of the predicted impacts of a moderate rate of climate change for Northland include:

  • changes in average temperature
  • sea level rise
  • rainfall patterns

In general, Northland, like much of the north of New Zealand, is likely to become warmer and drier.

Maintaining farm productivity and profits in an uncertain climate – this presentaion was given by Dr Jim Salinger, climate scientist, Professor Caroline Saunders, Lincoln University, and Rod Oram, financial and business journalist and commentator, at a series of seminars in Whangārei, Dargaville, Kaikohe and Kaitaia on 14 and 15 July 2011. 

Jim spoke on the latest information on climate variability and change and Rod outlined the work of Caroline’s team on what this means to agricultural trade, greenhouse emissions and what steps farmers can take to reduce emissions whilst improving their economic viability and business opportunities in a changing world.  Rod further advanced the emissions trading scheme and climate change discussion and in particular the pressures being placed on trade now and during the 21st Century.  As Rod emphasised, New Zealand stands to gain from both its low energy farming systems and from exporting skills and expertise its has and is developing in this field.

Download the presentation notes (PDF, 2MB)

More information

Find NIWA reports on climate and weather for Northland in our resource library

For further information on predicted impacts for our region, visit the Ministry for the Environment's website: