Seven to eleven tropical cyclones have been forecasted for the Southwest Pacific region, and three to four for the Northwest Pacific. This is according to the ‘Regional Statement on the Climate of 2017/18 and Climate and Tropical Cyclone Outlook for the Pacific Islands’ that was officially released two weeks ago as an outcome of the Fourth Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF-4) held from 10-12 October 2018, in Nadi, Fiji.
Warmer temperatures and increased rainfall can pose threats to our livelihoods and health by impacting the quality of water we drink, the food we consume, and the weather we experience.
But there are also vector-borne diseases (carried by mosquitoes and other insects), and water-borne bacteria and viruses, that become prevalent during periods of high and low rainfall, which pose great health risks to local populations. For example, increased risks of contracting dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria, and other diseases.
Weather and climate play a major role in impacting not only the safety of our Pacific people from natural hazards and extreme events such as tropical cyclones, floods and droughts; but also the potential health and economic risks they may face, such as increased vector-borne diseases during periods of heavy rainfall and damage to cash crop during a tropical cyclone event.
Climate change in the Pacific
Small island developing states (SIDS) are among the most vulnerable to our changing climate. People living in the western tropical Pacific SIDS are already experiencing higher temperatures, shifts in rainfall patterns, rising sea levels and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme climate events. Further changes on top of an existing, naturally variable climate are expected long into the future because of global warming.
22 May 2018, Bangkok, Thailand - The impact of climate change reaches all aspects of human life in the Pacific. Policymakers must select the priority adaptation actions from many options. UNDP and UN Environment are empowering effective climate change decision-making in the Pacific, to enhance resilience.