Climate impacts almost all aspects of life in Kiribati. Understanding the possible future climate of Kiribati is important so people and the government can plan for changes.
Temperature will continue to increase
Projections for all emissions scenarios indicated that the annual average air temperature and sea surface temperature will increase in the future in Kiribati. By 2030, under a high emissions scenario, this increase in temperature is projected to be in the range of 0.3 – 1.3 degrees Celsius for the Gilbert and 0.4 – 1.2 for the Phoenix and Line Islands.
More very hot days
Increases in average temperatures will also result in a rise in the number of hots days and warm nights and a decline in cooler weather.
Changing rainfall patterns
Almost all of the global climate models project an increase in the average annual and seasonal rainfall over the course of the 21st century. however, there is some uncertainty in the rainfall projections and not all models show consistent results. Droughts are projected to become less frequent throughout this century.
More extreme rainfall days
Model projects show extreme rainfall days are likely to occur more often.
Sea level will continue to rise
Sea level is expected to continue to rise in Kiribati. By 2030, under a high emission scenario, this rise is projected to be in the range of 5 – 14 cm. The sea-level rise combined with natural year-to-year changes will increase the impact of storm surges and coastal flooding. There is still much to learn, particularly how large ice sheets such as Antarctica and Greenland contribute to sea-level rise, scientists warn larger rises than currently predicted could be possible.
Ocean acidification will continue
Under all three emissions scenarios (low, medium and high) the acidity level of sea waters in the Kiribati region will continue to increase over the 21st century, with the greatest change under the high emissions scenario. The impact of increased acidification on the health of reef ecosystems is likely to be compounded by other stressors including coral bleaching, storm damage and fishing pressure.
Information on this page has been sourced on behalf of the Kiribati Meteorology Service and with kind permission from Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, 2011.Current and future climate of Kiribati. Visit www.pacificclimatechangescience.