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Science predicts Climate Change hardship for Pacific

Science predicts Climate Change hardship for Pacific

By Evan Wasuka, Pacific freelance reporter, Editor Pacific Media Team 2013

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Pacific Climate Change Roundtable has heard that, data has indicated that communities in the Pacific region Pacific is getting hotter, sea-levels are rising and ocean acidification has occurred.

Further warming, acidification and sea-level rise appear inevitable.

These long-term trends occur with a great deal of naturally occurring variability such as El Niño, but natural variability alone cannot explain past climate and will not wholly determine future climate.

The magnitude of future human-forced changes can be reduced if global emissions are reduced

SPREP's meteorology and Climate Officer, Salesa Nihmei told the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable in Nadi, that the recently climate change information has become available for countries after the completion of the set of studies carried out through the Ausaid funded project carried out in 2009 called the Pacific Climate Change Science Project (PCCSP).

Information collected from meteorological stations in the region indicated that all Pacific islands have warmed over the past 50 years, most in the range 0.4-1.0C.

"For example in Samoa surface air temperature and sea surface temperature are projected to continue to increase over the course of the 21st century. There is very high confidence in this direction of change because and the warming is physically consistent with rising global greenhouse gas concentrations.

"By 2030, under a high emissions scenario, this increase in temperature is projected to be in the range of 0.4–1.0°C."

"Under the high emissions scenario, by 2090, temperature increases of greater than 2.5 °C are simulated by almost all models for the whole region."

Similarly, this detailed information is available for most of the Pacific Island Countries.

Nihmei says already the impacts of Climate Change are being experienced by Pacific Islanders.

There are projected increases in the annual mean rainfall over most of the region of the Pacific, especially along the equator.

For sea level, the Pacific is expected to follow the global trend but warned that higher values are possible. The current measurements from the tide gauges confirmed by satellite altimeter measurements which are only from 1993 seem to suggest that the sea level trend show those of the high emission scenario. Ocean acidification is also expected to increase.

The 2013 Pacific Climate Change Roundtable is meeting from July 3-5.


Tokelau tells of challenges
By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Moving forward with the rest of the Pacific Islands is a major challenge faced by the nation of Tokelau.

This is according to their representative at the Pacific Meteorological Council meeting in Nadi, Menny Tavuto.

Tokelau consist of three atolls with a population of approximately 1,400, is currently under the New Zealand administration.

Tavuto in an interview said having no national radio station, no meteorological service centre and limited access to the internet and telephone add to the challenge.

“There is an urgent need to install meteorological stations on the three atolls,” he said.

Tavuto said the reason for this is that the three islands namely Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu are widely scattered.

“We don’t want to be left behind, especially with the speed of technology and the vital role of communication today.

“Right now we don’t have a radio station to disseminate information, especially weather forecasts and disaster warnings.

“We still depend on 2AP (Samoa Government Radio Station) for news and weather forecasts,” although there are plans to add a new national radio station for Tokelau in December.

Donors promise to help Tokelau

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Tokelau’s plea for help with the establishment of weather stations on its three islands has been answered, with an offer from New Zealand.

The head of the island’s environment services, Kelemeni Tavuto was overwhelmed with the positive responses from donors at the Pacific Meteorological Council (PMC) meeting, underway in Nadi this week.

“Tokelau is grateful to New Zealand for agreeing to support us with the most needed weather stations on our three islands. This was one of the urgent needs for our Met Service, said Tavuto.

He said coming to a regional meeting like the PMC has solved some of the immediate needs of the Met Service on the island, which comes under Environment Services.

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has offered us four chatty beetles to help us with the dissemination of information to and from our islands.

“We will assign a chatty beetle device each for our three islands and one will be based at our office in Apia, said Tavuto.

Chatty beetle is a text based alert and message device used in remote locations the smaller island countries in the North Pacific, funded by NOAA. It is designed to disseminate hazard messages (e.g. tsunami warnings, heavy surf, tropical cyclone warnings, etc.) to remote islands.

“NOAA is ready to deliver the chatty beetle devices to Tokelau, as soon as we are ready. I will go back home now to prepare for the delivery.

“The University of Oklahoma has also promised to provide equipment for our weather stations, said Tavuto.

Tokelau was represented at the PMC meeting for the first this year, with funding support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).


Sea level in Solomon Islands predicted to rise over 8mm in the coming century
By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Solomon Islands like many other countries in the Pacific is at risk to coastal erosions, storm surges and water inundation with sea levels projected to rise the coming century.

As ocean water warms it expands causing the sea level to rise. The melting of glaciers and ice sheets also contributes to sea-level rise. Instruments mounted on satellites and tide gauges are used to measure sea level.

Studies undertaken under the Australian funded project, the Pacific Islands Climate Change Science Program indicated that sea level has risen near the Solomon Islands by about 8 mm per year since 1993.

This is larger than the global average of 2.8–3.6 mm per year.

This higher rate of rise may be partly related to natural fluctuations that take place year to year or decade to decade caused by phenomena such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

Salesa Nihmei of Pacific Meteorological Desk Partnership at SPREP said that projections suggest that sea level in the Pacific region is likely to be similar to the global average however, he warned that higher values are possible with the increased understanding of ice sheet dynamics to improve sea level projections.

This will pose great threat to coastal communities' livelihood, infrastructure developments and socio economic activities of island economies.

This rise in sea level was related to global warming due to the increasing rates of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Nihmei further highlighted that carbon dioxide concentrations are now higher than they were hundreds of thousands of years ago.

He said research over the past century clearly shows that higher green house gas concentrations warm up the planet as exactly observed globally and over the pacific.

Adding that research over the past 50 years shows all Pacific Island stations have warmed, most in the range 0.4-1.0C.

"Pacific is getting hotter, sea-levels are rising and ocean acidification has occurred. Further warming, acidification and sea-level rise appear inevitable," Nihmei said.

Information on the projected changes of climate in each of the countries is available at each of the national meteorological services and encouraged the national stakeholders on to continue to involve the meteorological communities in their planning.


Samoa wants agencies to be clear about their roles in climate change - “always best to involve many than none”

By Asenati Taugasolo Semu, Press Secretariat of the Government of Samoa:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Compartmentalisation is one thing that the Samoa Chief Executive Officer of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Afioga Taulealeausumai Laavasa Malua hopes to see achieved at the end of this week’s Pacific Climate Change Roundtable.

According to Taulealeausumai, what he wants is for CROP (Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific) agencies and donors to clearly define their roles.

He said CROP agencies have different functions, but with climate change it seems they are all involved.

“So it should be clear, who is responsible for which and who is doing what,” said Taulealea.

“It seems that these kinds of things are hard to implement, but it’s always best to involve many than none, the most important thing is for each party to understand their role to play.”

Taulealea said it’s not about the separation of roles because that could result in the break up of communications.

Taulealeausumai is concerned about agencies that are carrying out adaptation and mitigation projects in the region are duplicating each other.

I’m hoping that at the end of this meeting there’s a clear and concise compartmentalization of who deals with what, you know – rather than countries being flooded by everyone coming in and duplicating all these adaptations and also mitigation activities.”

SPREP commits to support PICs integrate policy framework 2016
By Daniel Namosuaia, Solomon Star:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has signaled its commitment to support Pacific Island governments in formulating an integrated policy framework on climate adaptation, disaster risk reduction and meteorological services.

SPREP Director, David Sheppard told officials at the joint meeting on the second day of the meeting in Nadi that SPREP is very much in support to see a better outcome for the pacific by the end of these meetings.

"SPREP has been very delighted to support the whole process of Pacific Meteorological Council of Pacific Island Countries and Territories to accelerate the process and working closely with partners and donors in support of the efforts of PICTs," Sheppard said.

He stressed that these meetings will help PICTs and donor partners and agencies look at how they can better integrate the work on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

Adding that at the general level, the pacific region has two major policy frameworks that has been adopted by governments of PICTs called the Pacific Islands frameworks for action on climate change and policy framework on disaster risk reduction policy framework that finish in 2015.

He said the meetings would pave the way for 2016.

"This is the first time that these meetings are held together in line with the principle of looking at how we can better integrate our work.

"We also do that at the national level on what we call the joint national action plan process looking at national levels of integrating activities on climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction."

Adding that with the PMC meeting also held this week, it is important to identify the links between met-services and climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction

Sheppard said that the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable (PCCR) also held this week is seen as an opportunity every two years to identify a clear strategy towards a clear strategy framework in 2016.

"So we need to agree on what needs to happen and what are the roles of each countries and regional agencies to have a clear roadmap to move towards achieving the objectives. The commitment has been made to integrate the work on disasters, now climate adaptation but now we are trying to put the flesh on the bones."


Pacific Climate Crab

By Ben Kedoga, NBC Radio, Papua New Guinea

To view the climate crab animation:

4 July 2013, Nadi, Fiji - Disseminating scientific information on important issues, especially in the area of climate change is a major challenge for climate change practitioners.

To overcome this a group of climate scientists, humanitarians, technical experts, artists and actors have teamed up together to formulate and develop a video to spread information and awareness on Climate Change.

The 4 minute film titled, Pacific Adventures of Climate Crab deals with disaster preparedness and climate science.

Disaster management coordinator with the Red Cross Regional Office in Fiji, Ysabeau Rycx said there is a lot of good information on climate change, but, reiterated that most of these information are scientific and people do not really understand the issues.

INSERT…Isabo Rix…

Brad Murphy from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology also acknowledged that developing the final product was not easy as they had to make sure that the information disseminated is scientifically accurate.\

INSERT…Brad Murphy….

The “Pacific Adventures of the climate crab” premiered this week at the Novotel Hotel in Fiji, during the 2nd Pacific Meteorological Council.

The Meteorology and Climatology Advisor with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, Neville Koop congratulated the team for coming up with a vital information tool for the Pacific island communities.

The Pacific Adventures of the Climate Crab is the result of collaboration between Red Cross and the Australian Government’s Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning (PACCSAP) Program.


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