Research Group Summary
Research work concentrates on atmospheric, coastal, and snow and ice processes. There is a strong tradition of both pure and applied atmospheric research with cross links to the Health and Environment theme, as well as to alpine work on energy balances. There is a strong focus on studies of local and regional wind systems, using field and modelling investigations, as well as on air pollution and boundary layer research.
Coastal studies aims at a mix of understanding physical principles and key management issues in coastal science, with emphasis given to the distinctive physical nature of New Zealand and Pacific coastal environments. Coastal management in NZ under the Resource Management Act 1991 is examined within the context of international coastal and environmental management approaches. Particular environments of interest include mixed sand and gravel beaches, coastal wetlands, lakes, rock shore platforms and coral reefs.
The department has a strong interest in a range of alpine processes, including avalanches, glacier dynamics, glacier hydrology and alpine climate systems. There is a tradition of study of avalanche hazards in the South Island's Southern Alps. In addition a number of researchers are involved in Antarctic studies, including a large project on the Ross Ice Shelf and another on rock weathering processes in Antarctic conditions.