The world is on track to exceed 2°C warming within the next five years, with dire consequences for polar ice, mountain glaciers and permafrost – and human society.
Technologies such as remote sensing and artificial intelligence are making it easier to gather more accurate data on biodiversity. Developing these digital tools will help vital ecosystem restoration.
Seafloor sediments from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf represent an archive of warmer periods in Earth’s past. An ambitious international project aims to uncover what we can learn about our hotter future.
New Zealand cities grow mostly through building houses on undeveloped land. But this removes fertile soil and undermines the food production and other ecological functions city dwellers depend on.
Bacterial DNA extracted from soil includes many genes whose function remains unknown. The novel enzymes these genes code for could be useful in efforts to clean up persistent pollutants.
Redesigning agricultural landscapes to plant fire-retardant crops could help mitigate wildfires in an increasingly fire-prone world.
Preliminary findings show that managed retreat, structural flood protection and climate-resilient development projects are most at risk of maladaptation.
Stringent measures are needed to prevent plastic pollution. But concerns about carbon leaching from plastic waste would be better aimed at emissions from producing more plastic in the first place.
Ecological overshoot is driven by human consumption and a belief in endless economic growth. Could the marketing and media industries that feed those habits also help change them?
The rapid changes in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica highlight the urgency of better direct observations and measurements, beyond satellite monitoring and modelling.
Policies and funds to decarbonise high-emitting industries and electrify transport are already delivering emissions cuts. But they are at risk of being disestablished or weakened.
If we want to live in a world with Emperor penguins, we need to cut emissions steeply and protect parts of the ocean around Antarctica where climate change will have the biggest impact.
Antarctic sea ice is now nearly 9% below norma. But the dramatic decline is not universal around the continent, which makes it difficult to predict the overall impact of climate change.
Despite its importance, water management has been largely absent from the election campaign. But using trading markets to improve freshwater quality in smaller catchments deserves wider debate.
As the atmosphere warms, it can hold more moisture. This brings more intense downpours but also accelerates warming – because water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas.
New Zealand’s kelp forests provide food and shelter for many marine species of commercial and cultural value. But they are at risk from warming oceans, run-off from land and marine invaders.
A new machine learning model can pinpoint anomalies in sports results – whether from match fixing, strategic losses or poor player performance. It could be a useful tool in the fight against cheating.
New or improved flood protection can give a false sense of security – the so-called ‘levee effect’. But climate change is unpredictable, meaning ‘residual risk’ always exists and must be planned for.
Kākāpō are prone to disease and infertility. Only intensive species management has saved the flightless parrots from extinction. Genome data now reveals the genetic reasons behind these problems.
Some New Zealand universities have proposed staff and course cuts in earth sciences. This could leave the country ill prepared to deal with natural hazards and extreme weather.