Climate change is already impacting our local ecosystems and communities
Future projections for Canterbury/Waitaha show worse storms, floods and droughts happening more often, sea levels continuing to rise, and changes in the diversity of plants and animals in our region.
Here is what you need to know about what’s likely to happen in Canterbury’s future.
Continuing to release greenhouse gases at our current rate will mean that average temperatures in our region could be up to 1.5°C warmer by 2040, and up to 3.5°C warmer by 2090. Increases are likely to be even greater in the mountains/pae maunga and high country – as much as 6°C higher than today's average by 2090.
Our region's seas/moana will continue to rise as greenhouse gas emissions increase and the earth's climate warms. NIWA climate change projections for the Canterbury region highlight that in Canterbury/Waitaha, our sea levels may rise by an average of 30cm in the next 30 years, and by 80cm in 60 to 80 years. Further rises increase the risk of damage to homes, infrastructure and culturally significant sites.
Drought conditions are challenging for people, plants and animals. Warmer, drier conditions can lead to increased periods of drought, as well as increasing the risk of wildfires. A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture, meaning rainfall can be heavier at times. Heavy rainfall events can result in bigger and more frequent floods/pukenga and more erosion. Extreme winds/kōkō are also expected to increase over the next century.
NZ just had its warmest year on record – again
12 Jan 2023
The latest Annual Climate Summary from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has confirmed that 2022 was Aotearoa New Zealand's warmest year since records began in 1909.
While Canterbury/Waitaha wasn’t as impacted by the worst of 2022’s extreme weather as other parts of the motu, the region did experience its fair share of atmospheric anomalies that were mentioned in NIWA’s report.
No matter where you live or what you do, climate change affects us all
Explore the links here for reliable information and resources about the effects of climate change on Canterbury/Waitaha to help you understand, prepare, manage and adapt to its impacts.