Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment to Be a Focus of Climate Services Forum in Fiji
HONOLULU (Jan.16, 2013) — The Pacific Islands Climate Services Forum to be held next week in Suva, Fiji, will feature discussion of the recently released 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) report, titled Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts. The Forum provides an opportunity for dialogue between climate experts and decision makers, including resource and disaster risk managers and community planners, as well as government ministries and policy makers from across the region. PIRCA editors will present a summary of the report, which incorporates findings of the more than 100 scientists who assessed climate change impacts in Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands.
“The PIRCA report will fill an important role in spurring discussion at the forum,” said Dr. Victoria Keener, East-West Center Fellow and the report’s lead editor. “In this venue, the report can inform a wide range of practitioners. Going forward, it serves as a reference tool and as a baseline for further observation and research.”
Forum participants will examine the 2012 PIRCA report and other tools with the goal to improve the ways that climate information is presented to decision makers so that they can more easily access and use this information. As global climate change affects patterns such as El Nino, Pacific Island communities can benefit from receiving seasonal forecasts and other climate knowledge from scientists, particularly regarding extreme events.
The first day of the Forum will provide training on accessing available data, products, and services that can inform community climate adaptation planning. A three-day workshop will follow to share information on national and local climate adaptation programs, as well as knowledge of climate change and its impacts. The Forum culminates in a meeting for managers from government ministries and non-governmental organizations to evaluate the workshop outcomes and plan for the development and delivery of improved information services. Throughout the week-long Forum, participants will provide key information about current trends and impacts, helping PIRCA to fill gaps for future iterations of the assessment.
The value of the 2012 PIRCA report reaches beyond the Pacific Islands Climate Services Forum and the Pacific Islands region. The report is one in a series of technical contributions to the US National Climate Assessment (NCA), a periodic assessment of climate science and impacts, required under the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The 2012 PIRCA report and the 2013 NCA will inform the US leadership about already observed changes and anticipated trends. Policy makers will use the NCA to set federal science priorities. Government agencies, communities, and businesses will utilize both reports to make decisions and plans for the future.
The already full January 21-25 Pacific Islands Climate Services Forum is hosted by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD) and the Pacific Climate Information System (PaCIS), with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and will be held at the University of the South Pacific’s Laucala Campus.
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Primary responsibility for the PIRCA report is shared by the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) program, funded by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and supported by the East-West Center; NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC); PaCIS; and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC),funded by the Department of Interior’s US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and US Geological Survey. Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts is available for download at www.EastWestCenter.org/PIRCA and hardcopies are available upon request through Pacific RISA. For more information, please email info@PacificRISA.org.