Climate change science

Scientists have become increasingly concerned since the 1970s that increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from human activities are raising temperatures and destabilising the Earth’s climate systems.

Climate change: why we must do something


These domestic and international reports detail observed changes in our climate.

What’s happened already

  • Increased temperatures (about 0.7 deg C globally and 0.9 deg C in NZ over past 100 years)
  • Reduced frost frequency over most of the country
  • Retreat of many South Island glaciers and snowlines
  • Reduced alpine snow mass
  • The global average sea level rose about 17 cm last century, at an average rate of 1.7 mm per year. From 1993 to 2010 the global average sea level rose at an average rate of about 3.2 mm per year. 
  • Timeline of climate change scientific discoveries