While the earth has experienced changes in climate over the centuries, the anticipated extent and pace of climate change over the next 50-100 years will have impacts locally.
What does climate change mean for Hawke’s Bay?
Hawke’s Bay typically enjoys predominantly warm, dry, settled weather in summer and relatively mild winters. However our region is also prone to climate related hazards such as storms (with periods of high winds and/or intense rain bursts), floods and droughts. These extreme events are likely to become more pronounced or more frequent.
Based on current knowledge and using a mid-range scenario of greenhouse gas emissions, the following changes from baseline (1990) conditions are predicted for Hawke’s Bay:
- A rise in temperature of 0.9°C by 2040 and 2.1°C by 2090. The greatest rate of warming is expected in mid-summer.
- A decrease in the daily range of temperature and fewer frosts.
- A decrease in annual rainfall of 3% by 2040 and 4% by 2090. Winter and spring months are expected to get drier while summer and autumn may get more rainfall.
- An 8% increase in extreme rainfall with every 1°C rise in temperature.
- A rise in sea-level of 0.5-0.8m by 2090.
- An increase in extreme winds in winter and a decrease in summer.
Costs of climate change
Recent extreme weather events around the country show how vulnerable our society and economy are to the weather and climate.
If extreme weather events become more frequent or severe, the costs and damages associated with them are likely to increase. The costs of dealing with stock losses, replacing or repairing damaged roads, bridges, houses and stormwater drains and dealing with increased soil erosion and loss of soil nutrients can be significant.
What is HBRC doing?
CDEM Response - Hawke’s Bay Regional Council responds in many adverse weather conditions through our emergency management role - monitoring and alerting for potential floods, storms and high seas. Listen to your local radio for advice on what to do.
Coastal erosion rules - HBRC has adopted the Ministry for the Environment’s recommended sea level rise predictions as part of defining coastal erosion and coastal flooding hazard zones. Council has also proposed new rules to restrict further development and land use activities within these coastal hazard zones.
Adapting to change - Land management staff encourage farmers to take into account and plan for possible effects, through advisory services and farm planning. By planting and even retiring erosion prone land, farmers can reduce the incidents of slips and other earth movement in heavy rain fall. For information on climate change impacts on farming on the east coast, refer to the booklet ‘Adapting to change in Eastern New Zealand – A farmer perspective’ which is available on request by emailing Environmental Education or visit: www.earthlimited.org
Monitoring changes – So we know what is changing and how, HBRC’s state of the environment monitoring provides information. The State Of The Environment Reporting helps to identify trends so that responses can be developed for the impacts of climate extremes on Hawke’s Bay.
Providing national data - Data from our network of rainfall and climate stations is shared with those of NIWA and the NZ MetService. This data is used for mapping and identifying climate trends. Measuring soil moisture helps us to predict catchment response to storm events.
What can you do?
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will help to slow the impacts of climate change. We all play a part. Efficient homes, and smarter transport and energy choices are important factors that we can all work on. These can have immediate spin offs of lower power bills, warmer and healthier homes, and improved fitness and wellbeing.