Students perform at the Abaunamou Pri-School Climate Change Skit Competition. Photo: KAPIII

Future climate

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.

Read more: How do scientists develop climate projections?

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.

Table 1: Projected annual average air temperature changes for Kiribati for three emissions scenarios and three time periods. Values represent 90% of the range of the models and changes are relative to the average of the period 1980 - 1999. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

Table 1: Projected annual average air temperature changes for Kiribati for three emissions scenarios and three time periods. Values represent 90% of the range of the models and changes are relative to the average of the period 1980 – 1999. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

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.

Table 1: Sea-level rise projections for Kiribati for three emissions scenarios and three time periods. Values represent 90% of the range of the models and changes are relative to the average of the period 1980-1999. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

Table 1: Sea-level rise projections for Kiribati for three emissions scenarios and three time periods. Values represent 90% of the range of the models and changes are relative to the average of the period 1980-1999. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

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.

Read also:

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.org to download information brochures. For further information on this topic please refer to Volume 2 of Climate Change in the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research

Share