Our research

Whakahura studies extreme weather in climate and weather systems, hydrological systems, biological systems, and economic systems.


Our programme focuses on five main areas of research:

  • extreme event attribution
  • extreme event emergence
  • Vision Matauranga
  • economic impact
  • extreme event diagnosis.

As of early 2024, the Whakahura project has published 59 research articles.

Our publications

One of our most significant pieces of research was published in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, studying the “role of climate change in extreme rainfall associated with Cyclone Gabrielle over Aotearoa New Zealand’s East Coast.” “Wellbeing after a managed retreat: Observations from a large New Zealand program” studies the wellbeing of those forced to move out of their homes after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Another significant piece of work presents the first detailed synthesis of extreme heat in New Zealand. A different paper studies Aotearoa New Zealand’s 21st Century Wildfire Climate, and predicts that we will face more severe wildfires due to the changing climate. In 2023, an important paper was published studying signal-to-noise calculations of emergence and de-emergence of stratospheric ozone depletion.

Our most cited paper so far focuses on climate change attribution and the economic costs of extreme weather events. Another of our most cited papers looks at the economic costs of Hurricane Harvey attributable to climate change while another studies the extreme weather impacts of climate change from an attribution perspective. In 2020, our second-most cited article was written on the observed emergence of the climate signal.

The Vision Mātauranga team produce research articles focusing on extreme weather from a te ao Māori perspective. An article published in 2021 looks at options for climate change mitigation and adaptation for whānau/hapū/iwi. Another paper presents a Māori approach to environmental economics.

Two papers have been published investigating how income is impacted by extreme weather events, one focusing on extratropical cyclones and the other on floods. A 2023 paper investigates the impact of extratropical cyclones, floods, and wildfires on firms’ financial performance in New Zealand

For our full list of publications, please contact our Project Manager, Nienke Kloppenburg (Nienke.kloppenurg@climatesigma.com).