DORM ROOM IN­NO­VA­TION

NZ Life & Leisure - - That’s The Spirit -

I watched Zach Pre­ston (cen­tre) and his Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land en­gi­neer­ing col­leagues Zac Lochhead (left) and Sam Yoon pitch Sentinel to a high-pow­ered panel of judges at the Imag­ine Cup, an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion hosted by Mi­crosoft at its Seat­tle head­quar­ters that sees teams of stu­dents from around the world com­pete for a prize pack­age worth more than $150,000.

The team did New Zealand proud, Zach con­fi­dently han­dling tech­ni­cal ques­tions and out­lin­ing Sentinel’s busi­ness plan. Ul­ti­mately, Sentinel went as far as the quar­ter-fi­nals of the Imag­ine Cup.

But in­ter­est in the fledg­ling startup is keen and the team plans to com­mer­cial­ize Sentinel af­ter more tri­al­ing of the tech­nol­ogy. That’s good news be­cause the long-term cli­mate pic­ture for New Zealand and the world is con­cern­ing. UK and Dutch sci­en­tists us­ing sta­tis­ti­cal mod­el­ing of cli­mate data in Au­gust con­cluded the world could ex­pect anoma­lously warm

con­di­tions to at least 2022, with a greater chance of ex­treme tem­per­a­tures.

“As the cli­mate warms, get­ting ex­tra-warm years will trans­late to a much greater oc­cur­rence of ex­treme heat, dry­ness, and a greater chance of wild­fires, as we are see­ing in the north­ern hemi­sphere sum­mer this year,” says Vic­to­ria Uni­ver­sity cli­mate sci­en­tist pro­fes­sor James Ren­wick.

“If the warm­ing trend caused by green­house gas emis­sions con­tin­ues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the cen­tury.”

In other words, the coun­try needs to plan much more care­fully to meet wa­ter needs. A group of young New Zealand in­no­va­tors are on the way to help­ing do just that.

‘If the warm­ing trend caused by green­house gas emis­sions con­tin­ues, years like 2018 will be the norm in the 2040s, and would be classed as cold by the end of the cen­tury’

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