A Victoria University climate science professor says rising temperatures across the globe will slowly lead to more vicious storms like Hurricane Irma which has caused death in destruction in the Caribbean this week.
Dr James Renwick this morning told TVNZ1's Breakfast that the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic are about 1degC warmer than usual at the moment, which will be a contributing factor in the formation of storms like Irma.
"Climate change just encourages stronger storms," Dr Renwick said.
"As the climate warms there's more energy in the climate system so the chances of getting a really strong storm increase.
While not every storm would be a "blockbuster", there would be "more and more of this kind of thing as we go along".
Global sea levels have already risen by about 20cm in the past century, Dr Renwick said, and as those levels continued to rise the risk from storm surges to coastal areas will worsen.
This was especially important in places like New Zealand, where there is a lot of coastal settlement and infrastructure.
"We do get the remnants of tropical cyclones sometimes," Dr Renwick said.
"We've got an awful lot at stake in terms of economic value and lives."
Jacinda Ardern repeatedly asked Bill English "how many have you brought out out of poverty" during last night's leaders debate as she grilled him over Nationa's track record on the issue.
For the first time on Tuesday, the National leader put a target on reducing child poverty by 100,000 should his party win a fourth term.
Labour has also promised to put a child poverty target into law if elected.
At the Stuff Leader's debate in Christchurch, Jacinda kept interrupting Bill English when talking about child poverty by asking, "How many have you brought out of poverty?"
"I don't doubt that both of us don't want to see a country where children live in poverty," Ardern said.
"You've had nine years, how many have you brought out of poverty? How many?"
Bill English said National have brought 50,000 children out of benefit dependent households in the past five years.
"Next year there will be another 50,000," Mr English said, although Ms Adren rebutted, "I can tell you he hasn't lifted 50,000 out".