Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Scientists: Pacific to feel harshest climate change impact

From Dateline Pacific, 6:05 am today

Scientists at a recent climate summit in New Zealand's capital gave some stark warnings about the rapidly changing weather patterns in the Pacific.

Their consensus was that the Pacific will face the harshest consequences of global warming before other parts of the planet.

Dominic Godfrey reports.

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format.

PCCC2018 team organisers with keynote speaker Samoa PM Tuilaepa (centre) and VUW’s Pala Molisa, James Renwick, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban and SPREP’s Kosi Latu. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Dominic Godfrey

Transcript

The climate change summit began as remnants of Cyclone Gita swept through Wellington.

Acknowledging Gita, New Zealand's climate change minister James Shaw drew people's attention to a previous category 5 storm which devastated Fiji.

"So take Cyclone Winston two years ago. Officially it was a Category 5 cyclone, but the Met-Service experts tell me that it had much stronger winds than the 230 kilometre-an-hour upper limit of a Category 5 cyclone."

One of the event organiser's, Victoria University's Professor of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, James Renwick agreed, saying it may be time to introduce a sixth category to the scale.

Dr Renwick says the region can expect an acceleration of extreme events and variability.

"So you can have stronger and more prolonged droughts at the same time as you get heavier rainfall events when it's raining. So that idea that we get more extremes at either end of the rainfall scale is definitely there... more energy in the climate system. Warmer seas. Warmer air. So when you have a tropical cyclone it's likely to be more intense."

The director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute Dave Frame says tropical regions all face noticeably accelerated change.

But he says temperature increase is more pronounced in the Pacific because of the oceanic environment.

"It'll mean that temperatures get hotter than they're used to faster there. And that will have a range of impacts on the marine environments they draw on and on their farming and on their ecosystems. A lot of their environment will change and their climates can become unfamiliar, unrecognisably unfamiliar in some cases, quite quickly."

Dr Frame cites coral bleaching and die-back caused by warming oceans as an example.

The director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre Tim Naish says warming oceans and continued global emissions could lead to a drastic increase of the Antarctic ice sheet's melt.

"We may have under-estimated the Antarctic contribution by 1 metre, by the end of the century. So add another metre to the 1 metre we're already predicting for global sea level."

However his colleague James Renwick says if governments curb their emissions and keep warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial times, this would save the West Antarctic ice-sheet.

In the process, it would limit the contribution to sea level rise from the ice-sheet's melt to a matter of centimetres.

"There's still the glaciers melting and sea-waters expanding because it's warming so we would still get something like half a metre of sea level rise over the next century but yes, if we don't, then it could be many times that."

The climate experts all echoed the sentiment of Samoa's prime minister that the 2 degree target of the Paris Climate Agreement is too high and action was needed to achieve the 1.5 degree ambition.

Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi told the conference promises were not enough and that action was needed now.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Politely Fake Political Obituaries (And The Paris Discord)

One unfortunate side effect of “personality politics” is that when prominent politicians die, the niceties we observe at the death of private individuals get automatically extended to them as well... More>>

ALSO:

Unique And Vanishing: NZ Biodiversity Losses Match Global Crisis

One might think that it is buffered from some of the effects of biological erosion, especially since people only arrived less than 800 years ago. But as we show, the impact on wildlife has been catastrophic. More>>

Your Name Here(ish): Sponsor A Section On Scoop.co.nz!

Scoop.co.nz has just launched Section Sponsorships - the newest way for you to gain exposure for your brand to Scoop’s high value audience of 500,000 monthly readers. More>>

ALSO:

You Did It! The Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe Closes

Update: The Scoop 3.0 Crowdsale and Crowdfunding Campaign met its target with a total of $36,024 pledged. It looks like it has all been worthwhile. We are nearly there and Scoop.co.nz will ride again in 2019, our 20th year of operations. Moreover the past week has brought a number of inquiries from larger organisations, many of which have till now failed to respond to our messages... More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Quiz: Advice For Nats On Collins Leadership, Or Quote From Indiana Jones Fan Fic?

In a recent rest home speech, Judith Collins pitched for the leadership of her party, while at the same time the ghost of Margaret Thatcher struggled to regain control of Collins’ body from the incoherent raging demon that animates Western ethno-nationalist protofascism. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog