Wednesday 19th October 2016
Nuku’alofa Times - Page 21
Fiji hosting 2nd Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum
NADI, Fiji (UNDP/ SPREP/FIJI MET): Tonga is amongst the Pacific island meteorologists and disaster management experts who have gathered in Fiji on the cusp of the tropical Cyclone season for the Pacific to discuss the seasonal climate forecast ahead and the best way to prepare for any adverse weather. Known as the Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum 2 (PICOF-2), the event will discuss opportunities for integrating climate information into disaster risk reduction and disaster management. That will also be followed by a workshop to develop the Pacific Regional Imple-
mentation Roadmap for Climate Services from 19-21 October 2016. The Tropical Cyclone Season ahead for the Southern Pacific countries, as well as the likelihood of an El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event and their impacts will also be covered at the PICOF2.
“This is a crucial meeting for us in the Pacific island region, we have seen the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclones; and the influence of ENSO which can bring about droughts, flooding, heat waves, coral bleaching and crop loss – are all very real impacts that we know all too well across
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (XINHUA/Pacnews): Islands in the Southwest Pacific are expected to suffer eight to 10 tropical cyclones -- five or six of them severe -- in the coming tropical cyclone season, New Zealand government meteorologists said last Friday. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said meteorological and climate analysis centers across the Southwest Pacific were indicating near average numbers of tropical cyclones for the season, which runs from November 2016 to April 2017. Tropical cyclone activity was elevated for the Pacific island countries fringing the north of the Coral Sea, including Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, and close to the International Date Line near Tonga and
Niue, said a statement from NIWA. The outlook for islands like New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga indicated two or more cyclones could interact with each of those countries during the season despite subtle projected differences from normal. Reduced risk was expected for Tuvalu. At least five to six severe tropical cyclones were expected to occur anywhere across the Southwest Pacific during the season. “All communities should remain vigilant and follow forecast information provided by their national meteorological service,” the statement said. Southwest Pacific tropical cyclones are categorized from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most dangerous. At least six storms were anticipated to reach at least
category 3, with mean wind speeds of at least 64 knots or 118 km per hour, known as “hurricane force” winds. Of those systems, four storms might reach at least category 4 strength, with mean wind speeds of at least 86 knots or 159 km per hour. Category 5 strength tropical cyclones, with winds greater than 106 knots or 196 km per hour, were known to occur, so all communities should remain alert and well prepared for severe events. Tropical cyclones have a significant impact across the Southwest Pacific from year to year, with Vanuatu and New Caledonia typically seeing the greatest activity, with an average of two or three passing close to land each year. Cyclone Winston killed at least 43 people when it struck Fiji in February.
Pacific nations warned to be vigilant for coming cyclone season
UN agrees historic deal to cut HFC greenhouse gases
KIGALI (CLIMATE HOME): The climate’s low hanging fruit has been picked – amidst some ill-concealed irritation over who gets the sweetest harvest. The Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol to cut the use of potent warming greenhouse gases used in fridges and air conditioning has been described as the single most important step that the world can take to limit global warming. The deal, received with a
round of applause in the early hours of Saturday, has delivered on most of the promises made by the member countries last week, getting the world on track to avoid almost 0.5C warming by 2100. Between 2020 and 2050 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, comparable to the emissions of nearly 500 million cars, will be prevented from entering the atmosphere thanks to a progressive reduction of HFCs.
These super pollutants trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide, and currently are the world fastest growing group of greenhouse gases. “The amendment means a lot to us,” Rwandan negotiator Juliet Kabera said. “It fosters commitment towards climate change mitigation globally, even if Rwanda is not a big consumer of HFCs. Championing this cause puts us in a leadership position which makes us very proud.”
our region,” Dr Netatua Pelesikoti, Director of the Climate Change Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), said. “Through this meeting, we hope that our experts in these two key sectors have a clearer idea of what will be coming in terms of our climate over the next few months, and the best way that we can coordinate and prepare for these to minimise their impacts.” “Weather and climate services are vital to building disaster resilience in small island developing states,” World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. “Accurate seasonal predictions of an above-average tropical cyclone season in 2015 – 2016 were vital to preparedness measures. This certainly helped save many lives during the destructive Category 5 Cyclone Winston which hit Fiji in 20016. “Seasonal forecasts also underpin management of slow onset disasters like drought and high-impact events like heatwaves,” he added.
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El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the main driver of climate variability in the Pacific and will likely continue to influence the weather and climate of the Pacific well into the future. The PICOF will help participants improve understanding of how seasonal climate outlooks are produced, how they can be made regionally and nationally relevant, and how they can be tailored to the needs of users from the Disaster Risk Reduction community. This is the second such event, the first was held in 2015 with the focus on climate seasonal outlooks and their link to the water sector. Thanks to scientific advances, seasonal outlooks are more accurate and accessible in the past. They can be downscaled to provide localised climate information for users such as disaster managers, the water sector, farmers and the health and energy. “Resilience to disasters is a critical issue for the Pacific,” Kevin Petrini, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resilience and Sustainable Development Team Leader, said. “The recently endorsed
Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific provides a conducive environment for action. Building resilience will take concerted effort and coordination from governments, civil society, private sector and development partners. UNDP looks forward to working with the stakeholders in the region on Climate Early Warning Systems and Early Recovery as part of the upcoming RESPAC project.” This year during PICOF-2, the launch of the RESPAC will be a featured highlight. This is a three year project, funded by the Government of the Russian Federation and implemented by UNDP. The project will provide both technical and financial assistance to 14 Pacific island countries in the areas of climate early warning systems, disaster preparedness and recover, and disaster risk financing. The PICOF-2 will end with a special statement on Impacts and lessons learned from the 2015/2016 for climate, disaster risk management and outlook and preparations for a possible 2016 – 2017 La Nina.
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