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Professor Richard Warrick

Professor Richard Warrick Professor Richard Warrick

PhD (Geography), MA (Geography)

Position Visiting Professor
Faculty Faculty of Science and Engineering
School School of Science
Department Department of Environment and Agriculture
Campus Bentley Campus
Location 408

Brief Summary

Professor Richard Warrick has over 35 years of professional experience related to climate and sea-level change, variability and extremes. His interest is interdisciplinary and integrative, spanning the range of issues from the natural sciences to the human dimensions of global change, including impacts, vulnerability and adaptation in both developed and developing countries. Over the last two decades he has focussed on the development of integrated assessment models in order to help bridge the gaps between science, policy and planning. This work includes the SimCLIM modelling system, which has been applied at different scales (national to local) throughout the world. He holds the position of Professor in the International Institute of Agri-food Security (IIAFS) at Curtin University, and is also the Founding Director of CLIMsystems Ltd, New Zealand. Richard has been a Lead Author in all four of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports.

Memberships, Awards and Training

2009 Recipient of the national 2009 Bayer Innovators Award in the category of Environment and Agriculture
2007  Along with other long-standing major IPCC lead authors, a contributor to the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 
2006- Member, Royal Society of NZ, Committee on New Zealand Climate
2004-2007  Lead Author, IPCC Working Group 2 
1998-2001 Convening Lead Author, IPCC Working Group 2|
Member, International Advisory Board, Government of Maldives Climate Change Project
1997-1999  Senior Special Fellow, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 
1996-1998  Member, New Zealand National Science Strategy Committee for Climate Change 
1995-2006  Member, Advisory Group for the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), Bidston Observatory, Merseyside UK
1995  Staff Merit Award, University of Waikato 
Scientific Committee, Ocean & Atmosphere Pacific, International Conference
1994-  Co-editor, Asia-Pacific Journal for Environment and Development 
1994-1998 Member, New Zealand National Committee for the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP)
1994-1995 Convening Lead Author, IPCC Working Group 1 and Lead Author IPCC Working Group 2
1993 Member, Steering Committee for IPCC Eastern Hemisphere Workshop on Sea Level Rise and Coastal Zone Management
1991-1994 Member, IUCN Commission on Ecology
1990-2000 Editorial Advisor, Climate Research
1990-1992 Advisor, IUCN Global Change Programme
1990-1991 Member, UK Climate Change Impacts Review Group
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Research Interests

Dr Warrick’s project experience has been related largely to the issues of climatic variability and change, sea-level rise, natural hazards, environmental and societal effects, and international development.  The major research contracts for which Dr Warrick has assumed primary responsibility for acquisition and implementation are listed below:

Consultancy Team Member, Assessment of National and Regional Efforts to Reduce Natural Disaster and Climate Change Risks in the Pacific, commissioned by the World Bank. The aim of the project was to assess the extent to which Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Activities (CCA) activities have progressed in seven Pacific Island countries (Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, PNG and Timor Leste) and at the regional scale, and to identify the gaps or impediments to risk reduction, as a basis for identifying opportunities for progressing risk-reduction initiatives.

Coastal Zone Specialist, Climate Change Adaptation Programme for the Pacific (CLIMAP; TA 6064-REG, ADB), funded by the Asian Development Bank.   This project, focussing on the Federated States of Micronesia and the Cook Islands, involved carrying out pilot applications of a method for Climate Change Adaptation through Integrated Risk Reduction.  The project was led by J. Hay, with R. Warick guiding model and methods development and their application. The project was implemented through a collaborative arrangement between the Univesity of Waikato and Maunsell Ltd.

Programme Leader, Climate Variations and Environment (CLIMPACTS Phase 2), funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. The second phase of this collaborative, interdisciplinary programme involved the development of tools and methods for promoting adaptation to climate variability and change at the level of local government.

Co-Leader, Integrated Methods and Models for Assessing Coastal Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in Pacific Island Countries, funded by UNEP-GEF. This project, one of the set of AIACC projects executed by START and Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), was led by the University of the South Pacific in collaboration with the University of Waikato and SPREP.

Programme Leader,  Climate Variations and Environment (the CLIMPACTS Programme, phase 1), funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. This large collaborative, interdisciplinary project presently involved twenty scientists from two universities and four Crown Research Institutes in New Zealand.  The major focus of the project has been to develop an integrated assessment model, called CLIMPACTS, for examining the sensitivity of New Zealand’s managed environment to climate variability and change.

Project Leader, TOPOCLIM Model Development, funded by Crops for Southland (New Zealand). This project involved the integration of climate and soil data into a high resolution software model for the purpose of examining climate variability, extremes and risks in relation to crop production in southern South Island of New Zealand.

Project Leader, Present and Future Hotspots for Dengue Fever Outbreaks in New Zealand, funded by the NZ Health Research Council. This project sought to address two questions: Which areas in New Zealand, if any, are currently suitable for dengue vectors and at risk of dengue fever outbreaks? Which areas in New Zealand, if any, would be suitable for dengue vectors and at risk of dengue fever outbreaks under future climate conditions? An integrated model was developed to address these questions.

Project leader, Training for Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment for Caribbean Countries, funded by UNDP-GEF.  A 2-week training course was convened in Trinidad and Tobago for the purpose of assisting Caribbean countries with the preparation of their National Communications to the UNFCCC.

Project Leader, Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability, Adaptation and Economic Effects in the Pacific Island Region, commissioned by the World Bank.  This collaborative project, involving IGCI, SPREP, Stratus Consulting, SOPAC, SPC and the governments of Fiji and Kiribati, was aimed at producing two exemplary case studies of the implications of climate and sea level change for the environments, economies and societies of Pacific island countries. 

Project Leader, PACCLIM Workshop, funded by the Asia-Pacific Network.  The purpose of this workshop was to provide orientation to and preliminary training on PACCLIM, and to seek guidance from Pacific island countries on the future development of the PACCLIM model.

Project Leader, Development of the Prototype PACCLIM Model for Generating Scenarios of Climate Change for the Pacific Region, funded by UNDP-GEF under SPREP’s PICCAP programme.  This initial modelling work involved the integration of a working prototype version of an integrated assessment model, including the results of global models, a regional climate change scenario generator, and detailed impact models for two exemplary islands.

Project Leader, Technical Assistance to Pacific Island Countries in Facilitating the Development of National V&A Statements, consultancy funded by UNDP-GEF.  Under SPREP’s PICCAP programme, six Pacific island countries were visited by project teams in order to assist in the preparation of national V&A statements for submission to the UNFCCC. 

Project Leader, Evaluation and Transfer of the PICCAP V&A Training Course to the University of the South Pacific, funded by SPREP/PICCAP and NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  The project involved the evaluation, revision, packaging and transference of a training course to the Marine Studies Unit, USP, Fiji for sustainable capacity building.  The project included direct training of the trainers in Suva.

Project Leader, Implementation of the PICCAP V&A Training Course, funded by the  New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Two trainees from ten Pacific Island countries attended a 6-month extended training course in Hamilton, New Zealand, offered by the Interntional Global Change Institute, University of Waikato.  This course included two months of extensive training, two months of field work, and two months of national report writing.

Project Leader, Development of the PICCAP Training Course on Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment for Pacific Island Countries, funded by UNITAR and UNDP.  This project developed a training package on climate change impact and adaptation assessment focussing explicitly on small islands, including a new and expanded software training tools.

Project Leader, Development of a CC:Train Course on Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment, funded by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.  Working in partnership with UNITAR, the project produced an eight-module training package on assessing vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, including an innovative software training tool called VANDACLIM.  The course was successfully trialed in Zimbabwe in 1997 and subsequently updated and re-developed for universal application.

Programme Leader, Coastal Hazard Assessment for Management and Planning (CHAMP), funded by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.  The aim of this project was to develop a prototype model for examining, in a temporal and spatial context, the effects of climate and sea-level rise on coastal flooding and erosion hazards.  The initial development was for a segment of coast in the Bay of Plenty.

Consultant, Development of the Project Document for the UNDP-GEF Climate Change Enabling Project for the Maldives, commissioned by UNDP on behalf of the Government of Maldives.

Consultant, Development of Proposed Pacific Island Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP, commissioned by UNDP on behalf of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Under two separate consultancies, the development of the Project Brief and then the Project Document for the UNDP-GEF Climate Change Enabling Project for the Pacific.

Project Co-Leader, The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change:  An Assessment of the Effects on Bangladesh (Phase 2), funded by The Ford Foundation. This second Phase of the Ford Foundation’s project focussed on the development of an integrated computer model, called BDCLIM, for examining the effects of climate change on the depth and extent of flooding in Bangladesh, as well as on agroecological zonation.

Project Leader, Assessment of  Coastal Hazards and their Management for Selected Parts of the Coastal Zone Administered by the Tauranga District Council, commissioned by the Tauranga District Council and Environment BOP. Technical analysis of the possible areas of the coast that could become subject to risk of flooding and erosion due to future sea level rise as a consequence of global warming.

Project Co-Leader, The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change:  An Assessment of the Effects on Bangladesh (Phase I), funded by The Ford Foundation and British Overseas Development Administration. A national assessment of climate change and its effects, with a particular focus on the vulnerability of the agricultural, water, social and coastal sectors.  The project was carried out in collaboration with the Bangladesh Unnayan Parishad, Dhaka.

Project Leader, Review of Coastal Hazards Policy, commissioned by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand.  Project undertaken to review the technical and policy aspects of a draft plan for dealing with coastal hazards in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, with particular reference to assumptions about future climate and sea-level changes.

Project component leader, The Effect of Climatic Change on Agricultural and Horticultural Potential in Europe, funded by the European Commission.  Continuation of earlier collaborative research, which focussed on the issue of climate change and agricultural effects in Europe.

Project component leader, European Commission, The Effect of Climatic Change on Agricultural and Horticultural Potential in Europe.  Continuation of earlier collaborative research funded by the European Commission, which focussed on the issue of climate change and agricultural effects in Europe.

Project leader, Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Associated Impacts in Europe,  funded by the European Commission. Continuation of a collaborative research project which began in the 1980s, focussed on the physical aspects of sea level changes and the factors responsible for them.  The ultimate consideration was on refining the estimates of future global sea-level rise due to global warming.

Project leader (for initial stage), European Commission, Climate Change, Sea Level Rise and Associated Impacts in Europe. Continuation of a previous research project funded by the European Commission, although focussed more narrowly on the physical aspects of sea level changes and the factors responsible for them.  The ultimate consideration was on refining the estimates of future global sea-level rise due to global warming.

Project leader, Central Electricity Generating Board (England and Wales).  Greenhouse-gas Policy Model  (Contract Ref. RK 4391).

Project leader, European Commission, Impacts of Increasing CO2 and Climate Change on European Agriculture. A collaborative project consisting of climatologists and agricultural experts who worked interactively to examine the effects of climate change and variability on crop responses, yields and production within Europe.

Project Co-leader, European Commission,  The Greenhouse Effect and its Implications for the European Community.  The purpose of this project was to summarise the state of knowledge about climate change, impacts and adaptations with respect to Europe, and to convey the results in a form suitable for a non-technical audience, including policy makers.

Consultant, Commonwealth Secretariat, Expert Panel on Climate Change.  Provision of expert advice to an expert panel represented by a range of developing countries, including Guyana, Bangladesh and the Maldives, which convened to address the issue of climate change from the perspective of the Third World.

Project leader, Central Electricity Generating Board (England and Wales),  Greenhouse Gases, Climatic Change and Environmental Impacts: Information for Decision Making.  The main objective of this project was to develop a computer model for generating distributions of outputs from a global climate model.  The model was developed to aid the power industry in quantifying the uncertainties in future projections of climate change as a basis for decision making.

Co-leader, European Commission, Investigation of Past and Future European Sea Level Changes and their Impacts.  A collaborative research project that involved scientists representing a range of disciplines across European countries.  For a range of case studies and situations in Europe, the project included geological studies to discern past magnitudes and rates of sea level changes, to project possible changes in the future, and to estimate the impacts of changes on coastal environments.

Co-organiser. UNEP, European Commission, and U.S.EPA, International Workshop on Climatic Change, Sea-Level Rise and Associated Impacts.  This workshop, held in Norwich, UK, September 1987, was the first international workshop to take an integrated approach to examining the possible effects of global sea-level rise, including issues of vulnerability and adaptation, with experts attending from a broad range of developed and developing countries.  The proceedings resulted in a major book published by Cambridge University Press. 

Principal Investigator/team leader, U.S. National Science Foundation, Community Effects of Volcanic Ashfall Following the May 18, 1980 Eruption of Mt St Helens.  Field work in the State of Washington following the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens in order to ascertain on four communities that suffered varying depths of volcanic ashfall.  The study documented the extent of vulnerability, examining the adaptations taken to cope with the extreme event and resilience of the communities systems in returning to normal.

Co-principal Investigator, The Effects of Climatic Fluctuations on Human Populations, U.S. National Science Foundation.  An historical, comparative study of the possible role of climate change on human populations in Mesopotamia, Central America and the Great Plains of the USA.

Research Team member,  A National Assessment of Natural Hazards in the United States, U.S. National Science Foundation. A comprehensive, nation-wide assessment of individual hazards, their risks and cross-cutting adjustment strategies, including research needs. 

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Specialty Areas

Climate and Sea-Level Change

Climate Impacts, Vulnerability, Adaptation

  • Natural Hazards and Risk Assessment
  • Provision of Training
  • Research Management
  • Project Development
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Journal Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)


Books (Research) - Edited

  • Warrick, R., E. M. Barrow, and T. M. Wigley. ed. 2009. Climate and Sea Level Change: Observations. Projections and Implications. 2nd ed. USA: Cambridge University Press.

Book Chapters (Research)

  • Warrick, R. 2009. “From CLIMPACTS to SimCLIM: Development of an Integrated Assessment Model for Assessing Impacts and Adaption to Climate Change.” In Integrated Regional Assessment of Global Climate Change, 280-311. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Conference Articles (Research)


Conference Articles (Research)


Book Chapters (Research)

  • Warrick, R. 2006. “Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in the Pacific: Recent Breakthroughs in Concept and Practice.” In Confronting Climate Change: Critical Issues for New Zealand, ed. Ralph Chapman, Jonathan Boston and Margot Schwass, 191-198. Wellington, New Zealand: Victoria University Press.


Conference Articles (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)

  • Mirza, M. Q., R. Warrick, N. J. Ericksen, and G. J. Kenny. 2001. “Are Floods Getting Worse in the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Basins?.” Environmental Hazards 3 (2): 37-48.
  • de Wet, N., W. Ye, S. Hales, R. Warrick, A. Woodward, and P. Weinstein. 2001. “Use of a Computer Model to Identify Potential Hotspots for Dengue Fever in New Zealand.” New Zealand Medical Journal 114 (1140): 420-422.


Books (Research) - Edited

  • Warrick, R., and Q. K. Ahmad. ed. 1996. The Implications of Climate Change and Sea-level Change for Bangladesh. Dordrecht, Germany: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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