Scientists concerned over NIWA restructure – Nature

The possibility of restructuring at NIWA’s Lauder research site has lead to international concern that atmospheric measuring capabilities will be lost to the global research community.

The proposed staff cuts at NIWA’s Central Otago Lauder Research Station were made public last week, but have been highlighted today in a news article detailing the reaction from international research groups, published on the site of the international journal Nature.

An excerpt (Read in full here):

Staff cuts sound ‘death knell’ for atmospheric observatory

Plans to cut numbers of scientists and reduce or discontinue some measurements at a world-class atmospheric-research centre in New Zealand have prompted a barrage of international concern. The cuts will effectively spell the end of a uniquely valuable site for observing the global atmosphere, critics warn.

The 51-year-old Lauder Atmospheric Research Station on New Zealand’s South Island specializes in measuring levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), ultraviolet light and greenhouse gases, and has had a key role in assessing the state of the ozone layer. It is well known among atmospheric scientists for its large range of instruments – many internationally funded – and its location under clear skies that make it perfect for observations. The station’s data are used to calibrate satellite measurements of the atmosphere.

But last week, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the government-owned company that administers the lab, told Lauder staff that it planned to axe all three of the site’s atmospheric-scientist positions. The cuts, which follow a reprioritization of activities by NIWA, would seem to leave Lauder’s extensive measurement operations in the hands of five technicians. Two climate modellers and a mathematician are also understood to remain.

The Otago Daily Times also covered the international reaction:  Scientists weigh in over Lauder job cuts

Earlier coverage:

TVNZ News: Scientists concerned about Niwa cuts     Radio NZ: Minister rejects NIWA job cut criticism

Otago Daily Times: Possible job losses with Niwa change of direction     3 News: Niwa job cuts hurt NZ

Radio NZ: Job cuts at research centre anger scientists