New Zealand’s seven Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) have created a new National Environmental Data Centre (NEDC) website, making environmental information more accessible to all New Zealanders.
The data sets cover climate and atmosphere, freshwater, and land and oceans, and include biodiversity and geological data. They will not only be of benefit to advance scientific studies, but also for a myriad of uses by Māori, central and regional government, businesses, researchers, and the general public.
John Morgan, chair of Science New Zealand, said, “The website demonstrates the active collaboration of our CRIs and the extensive research and development they undertake for the benefit of New Zealand. Bringing all of this freely available research data together creates a significant advantage for all our users.”
The research data is extensive and, although much of it is already being used, the new website substantially increases accessibility and convenience. It contains a wide variety of tools and resources that range across seven environmental categories from atmosphere to land and ocean.
The ‘Our Future Climate New Zealand’ (climate change projections) section – hosted by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) – enables the user to make climate change projections for New Zealand. By employing a range of maps and charts the user can choose from a variety of scenarios to help forecast climate change. Such projections are invaluable for urban planning by central and local governments, and individuals can use the material to better understand the future of a specific region.
Dr Jochen Schmidt, chief scientist, environmental information, NIWA, represents the joint CRI Expert Group behind NEDC. “We have populated NEDC with a range of data sources, and we will add more. The website will continue to develop, and the open access will allow better collaboration in the development of top-class data modeling and computer design. This is a living data source that will be updated when new information is supplied. It will also ensure any data source remains supported.”