Our atmosphere and climate 2020 is an environmental report produced by the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. The report uses extensive long-term datasets to demonstrate some of the observed physical changes and broadscale effects in New Zealand that have been caused by climate change. Stats NZ makes these datasets available to the public. This activity uses Google Data Studio to enable students to visualise and filter datasets of interest.
There are 27 datasets to choose from:
- 15 datasets pertaining to weather including temperature, rainfall, drought, growing days, frosts, winds and fire risks. The datasets provide 30+ years of weather data for 30 locations across New Zealand.
- 11 datasets pertaining to greenhouse gas concentration emissions. The datasets cover emissions from 1990–2016. The initial dataset covers broad categories – energy, industry, agriculture, land use and waste. Subsequent datasets become narrower and more refined.
- 1 dataset pertaining to atmospheric ozone.
Please note: the Data Studio pages contain extensive information – there may be short delays while navigating through the pages and datasets.
Access the New Zealand climate data analysis Google Data Studio pages here.
The purpose of the activity is to introduce students to the datasets using an inquiry-based approach. This has applications across multiple curriculum areas. For example:
- agricultural and horticultural sciences
- Earth systems and the carbon cycle
- human impacts on ecosystems
- statistical investigations using the statistical enquiry cycle
- investigating impacts on health, wellbeing and/or the economy.
The following videos introduce the New Zealand climate data analysis datasets and explain how to filter, visualise and explore data.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- discuss components of selected Data Studio pages
- discuss and interpret data presented in selected pages
- discuss why the information is important
- ask questions about data of interest
- consider how the data can be used to inform people about changes in New Zealand’s climate and the effects we are beginning to see
- consider how the data can be used to inform people about New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Download the Word file for additional teaching support and student worksheet (see link below).
Insight into how the data used in this activity was collected and how the scientists involved ensured the datasets are accurate and robust is presented in the following videos:
- Journey of the greenhouse gas data
- How do we know the data is robust?
- How do we know the interpretation of the data is accurate?
- OAC 2020: an independent scientific report
The article Our atmosphere and climate – introduction has links to resources that inform students (and the general public) about the state of New Zealand’s climate.
Climate change resources – planning pathways provides pedagogical advice and links to the New Zealand Curriculum. It includes an interactive planner that groups Hub resources into key science and teaching concepts.
The climate change topic curates all Hub resources. Use the filters at the top of the page to find specific resources.
These activities also support students to create and interpret visual representations using climate change data.
The public datasets used in this resource are courtesy of the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ and have been compiled using Google Data Studio by educator Jason Morgan.