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Indicators for Our atmosphere and climate 2017

This page provides an overview of the new and discontinued atmosphere and climate indicators for New Zealand’s Environmental Reporting Series: Our atmosphere and climate 2017. Stats NZ and the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) will publish the report on 19 October 2017, along with a poster, raw data accessible from MfE’s website, and indicator pages with dynamic maps and graphs on Stats NZ’s website.

The Environmental Reporting Act 2015 requires Stats NZ and MfE to publish regular reports about the state of the environment. We publish a report on one of the five domains every six months – air, atmosphere and climate, land, fresh water, and marine – and a synthesis report on the state of New Zealand's environment as a whole every three years.

Sections on this page:

New indicators

Since Environment Aotearoa 2015, we have added two new indicators for the atmosphere and climate domain.

  • Rainfall intensity is assessed using two measures: percentage of total annual rainfall in the 95th percentile, and annual maximum one-day rainfall. The first measures the proportion of annual total rain that falls in intense events, providing information about the distribution of these events. The second measures the maximum amount of precipitation that falls in a single day during a year, providing information on the magnitude of intense rainfall events.
  • Extreme wind uses two measures: number of days per year with a maximum wind gust in the 99th percentile, and the annual highest maximum gust. The number of days per year with a maximum wind gust in the 99th percentile measures the frequency of extreme wind events specific to a location. Annual highest maximum wind gust measures the magnitude of extreme wind events.

Indicators not updated

We will not update some indicators presented in Environment Aotearoa 2015. This enables us to balance the cost of procuring additional data (and the time available to analyse, quality assure, and update the products) against the benefit of new information. In some cases, new data were not available.

We considered that it would add more value to provide a more comprehensive analysis of existing indicators or replace existing indicators with new, improved indicators rather than update datasets with one or two years of new information.

These atmosphere and climate domain indicators will not be updated in 2017:

  • Water physical stocks: precipitation and evapotranspiration
  • Insurance losses for extreme weather events
  • Ski-field operating days.

We will investigate the viability of updating some or all these indicators in future reports.

Discontinued indicators

We will replace two indicators:

  • Rainfall intensity replaces Annual maximum three-day rainfall
  • Extreme wind replaces Occurrence of potentially damaging wind.

The discontinued indicators will still be available from the archived indicator pages on Stats NZ’s website but will no longer be updated with new data.

Supplementary information

We will draw on scientific literature to provide context to and explain our findings.

Remaining data gaps

Data coverage for pressure and state topics in the atmosphere and climate domain is generally good. The most important gaps are for impact topics, particularly impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem processes, economic impacts, and impacts related to te ao Māori (Māori world view).

How we selected the indicators

Stats NZ and MfE undertook the selection process, starting in July 2016.

We assessed the indicators in Environment Aotearoa 2015 against the topics set out in regulations (which came into force in June 2016) to identify data gaps and improvements to existing indicators. From this process we developed two new indicators (rainfall intensity and extreme wind) and investigated the availability of data for a range of other potential new indicators.

When updating indicators, we considered:

  • what value the measure adds to the environmental stories in the domain
  • relative cost of procuring some data
  • feasibility of updating or creating the measure within the required timeframes

We collected data from January 2017 to August 2017.

Quality assurance

The Statistical Methods team and the Environmental Statistics team at Stats NZ undertook a quality-assessment process to ensure the statistics and their methodology are robust.

This work, which took place between March and August 2017, was supported by technical and scientific advice from MfE and data providers.

We assessed all indicators against the six criteria from the data quality framework (as outlined in the Principles and Protocols for Producers of Tier 1 Statistics): relevance; accuracy; timeliness; coherence and consistency; accessibility; and interpretability.

We classified the measures based on data quality into three categories: national indicator, case study, or supporting information. See Good practice guide for environmental reporting for more information on quality assurance and the classification of measures.

We completed the first draft of the report in June 2017. From June 2017 to August 2017 we sought expert advice on the interpretation of the indicators used in the report and webpages, including from technical advisers from central government, Crown research institutes, a regional council, and a university. Four independent peer reviewers provided a review of the draft report and webpages in August 2017.

Downloadable table – indicators for Our atmosphere and climate 2017

For a list of the indicators in table format, see the PDF in the Available files box on the right-hand side of this page. If you have problems viewing the file, see opening files and PDFs.

Published 28 September 2017

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