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  • The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) gathers weather data throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. NIWA and its predecessors have been gathering this information for decades.

    Weather datasets are used as an evidence base for the Environmental Reporting Programme – a joint programme with the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ – when reporting on the state of the atmosphere and climate. The programme makes the datasets they use available to the public. Anyone is welcome to use the datasets to repeat the programme’s analyses or to use them to explore issues of interest.

    This activity provides long-term average annual temperature and annual precipitation data for 30 sites from Kerikeri to Invercargill. It has suggestions on how to use the datasets to view temperature and precipitation variations over time.

    In this activity, students use regional weather data to interpret spreadsheets and to create and interpret graphs. The activity supports each of the science capabilities.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • discuss components of the spreadsheets
    • create simple scatter plot graphs using annual weather data using Excel or Google Sheets
    • discuss and interpret weather data presented in graphs.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    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:

    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.

    Related activities

    Interpreting representations using climate data uses graphs to develop literacy and numeracy skills.

    Using infographics challenges students to delve into infographics and how they present science information.

    Useful link

    For more information about regional weather and climate, use NIWA’s Regional climatologies.


    This resource has been produced with the support of the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ. (c) Crown Copyright.

      Published 15 October 2020 Referencing Hub articles
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