James Frankham

The new normal

The Earth has always had a dynamic climate, but it has never changed as fast as it is changing now. What forces are driving this massive flux? How can we reduce carbon emissions caused by human society, and mitigate the effects of climate change? How can we adapt to the new normal?



Wildfires were rare in Aotearoa prior to humans. That changed, but it is climate change that will fuel the inferno of the future.


The final meltdown

Retreating glaciers and thinning snow and ice are the future of New Zealand’s mountains. Climate change is predicted to warm the country’s atmosphere by 1–4°C by the end of the century, altering the natural water cycle—how much is frozen as snow, how much falls as rain, and how much flows in rivers. Climate researchers are seeking to predict what will change, and when. What will be the impact on hydroelectric power stations and irrigation schemes? Which areas will be hit hardest by flooding, or increasingly severe drought? The Deep South National Science Challenge is taking a lead role in helping decision-makers plan for the coming century.

Science & Environment

Acid seas

The chemistry of seawater is changing, becoming more acidic, and this transformation is most profound along our coastlines. In this delicate borderland between land and sea, some places are experiencing a surge in acidity, peaking at levels that the open ocean isn’t predicted to reach until the end of this century. What does this mean for marine life?

Science & Environment

New Zealand's Next Top Model

A small group of Kiwi scientists is attempting to construct the ultimate crystal ball—a mathematical model of the Earth’s natural systems so intricate that it can predict the behaviour of our atmosphere, land and seas, human industry and biological production, far into the future.

Living World

Species at risk: 2º from Oblivion

From native frogs to alpine plants, signs of change are all around us, a frightening barometer with which to gauge our changing climate and a reminder that if we can conserve these species most at risk, there is hope for all.

Science & Environment

Antarctic science: Under the Ice

Antarctica’s fragile ecosystem is a barometer for the warming and acidification of Earth’s oceans. Over the last decade, NIWA scientists have been diving under the ice as part of Project IceCUBE to gauge just how the ecosystem might cope with these threats.