This year's Tasman fires and last year's Cyclone Gita are giving the New Zealand public a taste of what could be coming as our climate changes.

That is part of the message that Dr Judy Lawrence, Senior Research Fellow at the Climate Change Research Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, will be giving to The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference 2019, to be held in Palmerston North on April 8-9.

The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference will bring together scientists, government policy advisors, farmers and industry leaders to discuss the theme of meeting the challenges of climate change with respect to farming.

Lawrence was the co-chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working group that reported to Government in December 2017 and May 2018 with a stocktake of adaptation action and recommendations on adapting to climate change.

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She says events like the Tasman fires and Cyclone Gita are a possible indication of things to come.

"Before that in 2017 the south of New Zealand experienced a very heavy rainfall event that
stretched our resources. Coastal properties in low-lying roads have been flooded in Hawkes Bay, Wellington and the West Coast.

"In Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel, estuary margins are increasingly being flooded. These events will become more intense and, as the seas keep rising, flooding will be permanent in some areas and occur also on sunny days."

Lawrence says these 'events' underline that it is essential to get organised to deal with the changing climate risk profile that confronts us as a nation.

Local viewing the massive smoke cloud from the Tasman bush fire near Pigeon Valley, Nelson. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Local viewing the massive smoke cloud from the Tasman bush fire near Pigeon Valley, Nelson. Photo / Mark Mitchell

She will outline several actions that can be taken to adapt to the challenges ahead, on the second day of the conference.

The New Zealand Agricultural Climate Change Conference conference is being organised by the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC), in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGgRc), and will be held at the Palmerston North Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street.

Presentations will be given by New Zealand science, industry and policy leaders.

The programme will draw on published scientific work and the research projects being conducted by the NZAGRC-PGgRc and by MPI's Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Research Programme (SLMACC).

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Attendance is free but registration is required.

For more information or to register please go to https://www.nzagrc.org.nz/conference.html