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A regional technical climate science report containing country-scale historical climate and ocean variability and trends information has been launched today.
The Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) launched the report during an event hosted online.
The COSPPac Climate Change in the Pacific 2022 Historical and Recent Variability, Extremes and Change Report provides climate change science information for the region and individual Pacific Island countries or territories.
A regional summary of the report, presented during today’s launch, showed that communities in COSPPac partner countries and territories experience climate and ocean variability at weekly to seasons timescales.
These communities also experience natural extreme events such as droughts, tropical cyclones, coastal and river flooding, and coral bleaching. The occurrence of these extreme events and in some cases multiple events simultaneously can have devastating impacts.
“Understanding and adapting to climate change in the Pacific requires being able to differentiate between climate variability and long-term change and being able to correctly attribute extreme events to climate variability or anthropogenic climate change,” said Dr Simon McGree, Technical Science Lead for COSPPac and a coordinating lead author of this report.
The regional summary of the report also includes information about rainfall records, air temperature, tropical cyclones, sea (ocean) surface temperature, sea level, ocean waves and extreme ocean waves.
While producing the report the authors noted a significant decline in the availability of high-quality Pacific Island data and metadata. While this doesn’t compromise the quality of the 2022 report it does mean the analysis is limited geographically and historically. Unless urgent action is taken, data availability will continue to decline to limit our ability to understand Pacific-specific climate change.
The report has country-specific chapters for the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The report is in response to regional calls for the international community to immediately increase support and assistance for Pacific-led science-based initiatives intended to improve our understanding of risk and vulnerability and capacity-building support for evidence-based decision-making and project development.
“Pacific NMHS Directors also recognise the importance of having up-to-date observed and projected changes in Pacific climate and ocean information readily available and we note the demand from Pacific countries for National State of Climate reports to be a priority and be regularly produced,” said Mr Zulfikar Begg, Coordinator Applied Ocean Science at the Pacific Community (SPC) and one of the lead authors of the report.
This report complements existing Pacific climate change science reports such as the:
- IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, and World (2021)
- WMO RA-V Pacific Regional Climate Centre Network Pacific Climate Change Monitor: 2021 (2022)
- CSIRO/SPREP Next Generation Climate Projections for the Western Tropical Pacific country reports (2021)
It’s an outcome of collaboration between the implementing partners of COSPPac, specifically the Bureau of Meteorology, the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme together with support from the national meteorological services in the Pacific.
The report is available on the SPC Digital Library https://purl.org/spc/digilib/doc/7wifz
Publication of the report is supported by the New Zealand Aid Programme.
An Australian-Aid-funded programme, COSPPac aims to enhance the capacity of Pacific Islands to manage and mitigate the impacts of climate variability and tidal events. We work with stakeholders to build tools that can forecast and report on climate, tides and the ocean and help determine how best to communicate this information to Pacific communities, businesses and governments.
For further information, you can contact:
Dr Simon McGree
Technical Science Lead COSPPac
The Bureau of Meteorology
Email: [email protected] | Phone: +61410734640