Climate Scientist awarded the Kidson Medal
Climate scientist Doctor Jim Renwick of the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) has been awarded the
Kidson medal by the Meteorological Society at the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Awards held at Te Papa on the 16th of
The award is for Renwick’s scientific paper “Southern Hemisphere circulation and relations with sea ice and sea surface
temperature” published in the Journal of Climate in 2002. This work was one of the first papers to provide physical
explanations that account for observed statistical links between El Nino and Antarctic sea ice. It has particular
importance for New Zealand, since our climate variability is modulated by both the El Nino and ocean variability.
The Kidson Medal award is named in honour of Dr Edward Kidson who directed the New Zealand Meteorological Service from
1927 to 1939, and whose papers on New Zealand's climate remained the standard for many years. The medal is awarded by
the Meteorological Society (metsoc.rsnz.org) to the author of an outstanding paper published in a refereed scientific
journal during the preceding three years.
Jim Renwick went to school at Springfield and was so intrigued by Canterbury’s spectacular weather that, as a boy, he
played about measuring temperature and wind, acting like a detective gathering evidence to see how they linked. After
doing a Maths degree at Canterbury University he joined the New Zealand Meteorological Service and was a weather
forecaster for several years. After acquiring a Masters degree in statistics, he went to the University of Washington in
Seattle to earn a PhD in atmospheric processes. With these tools he has been working since 1992 for NIWA, still acting
like a detective, seeking links that can help us understand our changing climate.