Climate Risk Country Profile - Timor-Leste

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  • Timor-Leste’s tropical climate is heavily influenced by the West Pacific Monsoon and its mountainous climate.

  • Timor-Leste’s climate is strongly impacted by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which can vary the inter-annual quantity of rainfall by up to 50% and affect the timing of peak annual rainfall.

  • Annual mean surface air temperatures in Timor-Leste are projected to increase by approximately 2.9°C by the 2090s under the RCP8.5 emissions pathway, and by 0.9°C under the RCP2.6 emissions pathway.

  • There is great uncertainty around projected precipitation changes but high confidence in an increase in extreme rainfall events.

  • Future drought frequency is uncertain but could increase and as such disaster risk reduction efforts are needed.

  • Under all emissions pathways Timor-Leste is projected to experience an increase in the frequency of extreme high temperatures. These represent a major threat to human health and demand significant attention from all stakeholders.

  • The population is heavily dependent on agriculture, with 70% of families relying on some form of farming activity for their livelihoods. Climate change is set to alter rainfall patterns, with Timor-Leste’s food production likely to be one of the most affected by changes in rainfall in Southeast Asia. In combination with increased growing season temperatures, agricultural production may see reduced yields.

  • While Timor-Leste has made considerable progress in development, it still suffers from high levels of poverty.
    Climate change threatens to exacerbate vulnerability and inequality, particularly in food security. The rural poor and other marginalized groups are most vulnerable.

  • Without systemic action climate change threatens to increase inequality and drive significant damage and loss.

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