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Key aspects of climate change for New Zealand

New Zealand climate is changing. The Australasian region continues to show long-term trends toward higher surface air and sea surface temperatures, more hot extremes and fewer cold extremes, and changed rainfall patterns. Warming is projected to continue through the 21st century along with other changes in climate.

Key findings

Warming is expected to be associated with:

  • rising snow lines,
  • more frequent hot extremes
  • less frequent cold extremes
  • increasing extreme rainfall related to flood risk in many locations

Annual average rainfall is expected to decrease in the northeast South Island and northern and eastern North Island, and to increase in other parts of New Zealand.

Drought frequency could double or triple in eastern and northern New Zealand by 2040.

Fire weather is projected to increase in many parts of New Zealand.

Regional sea level rise will very likely exceed the historical rate.