Climate and geophysics

Our environmental physics research encompasses atmospheric, oceanic and solid-earth systems. We address vital questions concerning climate, geohazards and sustainable energy.

New Zealand from space

Straddling two tectonic plates, New Zealand is at risk from earthquakes and volcanic hazards. Additionally, our unique natural ecosystems and large agriculture sector are sensitive to climate variations.  

We address both the local issues, as well as their global implications. We work closely with colleagues across the faculty, on projects such as energy and geo-hazards, remote sensing for exploring near seafloor gas and hydrates,  New Zealand tectonic features and climate.

Research topics

Cloud dynamics

Tropical cloud dynamics and clouds’ influence on climate, using satellite observations and models.

Atmospheric processes

We examine the atmospheric processes (radiation, hydrological cycle, air circulations, clouds) that underlie the structure of the atmosphere. And consider the potential impact of these processes on future climate change.

The Earth's interior

Using elastic waves, we study the interior of the solid earth.  In the field, these are seismic waves, whereas, in the lab, we establish the physical properties of earth materials using laser-ultrasonic waves.


This topic covers areas such as process oceanography, turbulent stratified flow, polar oceanography, and marine energy.

Our researchers

Professor David Noone

  • Climate variability and paleoclimate
  • Circulation and composition of the atmosphere
  • Water and carbon cycles
  • Clouds and cloud microphysics
  • Numerical modelling of weather and climate

Professor Roger Davies

  • Climate research
  • Satellite remote sensing

Dr Tra Dinh

  • Atmospheric sciences
  • Climate dynamics
  • Atmospheric radiation and hydrological cycle
  • Cloud microphysics
  • Numerical methods and modelling for geophysics

Associate Professor Craig Stevens

  • Oceanic turbulent stratified boundary-layer flows
  • River plumes
  • Sea ice-ocean interaction
  • Entity-flow interaction
  • Fluid mechanics

Associate Professor Kasper van Wijk

  • Geophysics
  • Laser ultrasonics
  • Elastic wave scattering
  • Seismology