Many Small Island Developing States and Island Territories are low-lying and highly vulnerable to weather extremes and climate change, including the increased severity of cyclones, storm surges, heavy rains, droughts, sea-level rise and ocean acidification. Investments in disaster risk reduction, including early warning systems and adaptation measures for critical sectors, are essential for building resilient island communities and facilitating sustainable development. Since 2015, the WMO Programme for WMO Small Island Developing States and Member Islands has pursued targeted capacity development actions to strengthen their weather and climate services. Below, we highlight such initiatives in the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs).
Meteorological Strategy - Following a mid-term review of the Pacific Islands Meteorological Strategy (PIMS) 2012-2021, a final updated draft PIMS 2017-2026 will be presented at the fourth meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council and the second Pacific Ministers Meeting on Meteorology in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in August 2017. The draft updates the framework for the Directors of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to ensure that weather and climate services are sustained and ensured of the best quality possible.
Enhancing climate services is one of the PIMS 2012–2021 priorities. Thus, in 2014, work started on the development of the Pacific Roadmap for Climate Services. The final draft, completed earlier this year, prioritizes key actions for implementing the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and expands on the five GFCS focus areas – agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, sustainable energy, health and water – by adding tourism, fisheries and aquaculture. It provides overall guidance for the generation and delivery of climate services in the region, recognizing that no single approach will suit all. The draft will also be presented at the Solomon Islands meetings in August 2017.
Training - The Fiji Meteorological Service Training Centre in Nadi is currently (from 24 May to 29 June) hosting the 2017 Basic Instruction Package – Meteorological Technicians (BIP-MT) Training Course. The 17 trainees represent 9 PICTs: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fiji Meteorological Service, with support from WMO, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, furnishes such training courses to ensure that meteorological data of high quality standard – both in accuracy and timeliness – are collected and maintained in a sustainable manner. The Government of Japan through JICA, the Government of Russia through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Disaster Resilience in the Pacific Small Island Developing States (RESPAC) Project and the Government of Fiji are funding the course.
The HimawariCast Project - Since the beginning of June, Samoa has been accessing image data from the most recent new generations of geostationary meteorological satellite. HamawariCast receiving and processing systems installed earlier in the month became operational following staff training coordinated by WMO and JMA.
Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project (CIFDP) – Implementation of CIFDP-Fiji (2016-2019) is progressing as per the workplan. 2017 activities include model development (waves and storm surge only), purchase and installation of wave buoy and a stakeholders’ workshop. Finalization and pre-operational testing of models as well as their integration into a combined operational forecast and warning system will occur in 2018-2019 along with further training workshops. The Project will yield a reliable open source coastal inundation end-to-end operational forecasting and warning system.
Climate Outlook Forums - Two regional Climate Outlook Forums have been organized in the PICTs. These have brought together the providers of climate information – NMHSs – and end users of this information such as the disaster risk management community, the water, agriculture and health sectors, and many more.
Implementation of National Climate Outlook Forum (NCOF) in the PICTs’ accelerated in the latter half of 2015 with funding support from WMO and the Government of Canada, through Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and projects implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu were the first to implement NCOFs. Papua New Guinea’s National Weather Services and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazard Department (VMGD) have been regularly briefing national stakeholders on the status of El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation.