Tag Archives: Kiribati

Mr Riibeta Abeta

I-Kiribati first international publication on climate change

Riibeta Abeta

Riibeta Abeta

Meet Mr Riibeta Abeta
Kiribati has not only for years been at center stage of the 21st century’s hottest topic of climate change, but the new year 2014 has ushered in the newest chapter of climate change for Kiribati, the first I-Kiribati single author on climate change.

In a typical Kiribati way of life, the young and newest author Mr. Riibeta Abeta expects no glints or glamour or even an entourage of the media to greet his first ever academic publication titled ‘Climate Change Adaptation and Coastal Zone of Kiribati’ published by the German based Lambert Publishing Company.

Speaking to TMN when asked what was his biggest motivation behind  his work? Mr. Abeta has this to say.

His motivation
‘I think forging our home island of Kiribati forward through today’s challenges, particularly in the future bleak scenarios brought in by climate change has been my biggest motivation to complete this book’

Although this is his first academic master-piece on climate change, Abeta is no stranger to the different dimensions of climate change that is impacting his beloved Kiribati, because he still lives with it and has argued for it at international foras when he worked as climate change officer with the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development in Tarawa as a Kiribati civil servant.

Future hopes
‘Amid the global campaigns about the uncertain future of Kiribati due to climate change, my worries always goes to our children, and therefore it points me to the fact that our young generation of Kiribati today must fully understand the full spectrum of their choices for their future lives; and we all know that this can be realized by more focused research on this hot topic, among other things.’

Mr Abeta’s background
Abeta has been on the Kiribati negotiation teams to the many UN Climate Change meetings since he joined the Ministry of Environment more than a decade ago, it is during his service with the Government of Kiribati that he got the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship to do his masters on climate change at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane.

‘This book in summary is about our capital island, South Tarawa, Kiribati; and a detail explanation on where it safe boundaries are with respect to the climate change threats.  The book also argued that the range of barriers and limits to climate change adaptation need to be considered into today’s developmental planning.  The time and resources spent to do the research was made possible through the Australian Leadership Award Scholarship and the University of the Sunshine Coast in Brisbane Australia when I did the Masters of Climate Change academic program in 2009 -2010.’

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta's book

Cover page of Riibeta Abeta’s book

The new author has found new strength and new heights in his first publication and has shared his thoughts and experience on how to get your work published in his facebook page and emails to his friends and colleagues in Kiribati.

Lambert Publishing Company
‘The Lambert Publishing Company (https://www.lap-publishing.com/site/home/10) based in Germany came across my work and expressed their interest to publish it globally (https://www.morebooks.de/), which has now brought this work about Kiribati to this level,’ he said.

‘This has not only demonstrated the potential of us I-Kiribati as trusted authors of books, but more importantly showcasing Kiribati’s stories, information, facts, problems and critical issues requiring support, at the international front.’

Defining our paths
According to Abeta, I-Kiribati are better suited to define their paths in terms of climate change.

Beyond climate change, the new author and father of two children has somewhat a more human touch and nationalistic feeling towards his new publication.

Hopes for a smarter and resilient Kiribati society
‘I felt, this publication of mine is entirely dedicated to the young and growing generations of Kiribati to be very informed by engaging in more innovative researches, adaptive to emerging threats, willingness to collaborate with each other to achieve a common goal for Kiribati, and remain true I-Kiribati. This publication hopes for a ‘smarter and resilient Kiribati society in the future.’

‘The “young generations” of Kiribati can achieve more than this, and I would like to encourage them to do their best for themselves, and for their future beloved home Kiribati. It is also with an earnest hope that this small achievement, signals an important message to all I-Kiribati citizens to help shape a ‘Smarter and Resilient Kiribati.’

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COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

Climate change workshop – a success

The Office of Te Beretitenti (OB) through the Kiribati Meteorological Service (KMS) in partnership with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) through Climate and Ocean Support Program for Pacific (COSPPac) held a Kiribati Climate and Communication Workshop from November 18-22.

COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

COSPPac team with Kiribati Met Service staff who participated in a 2 days workshop at Kiribati Met Service office in Betio

Together with the KMS climate section, the team delivered climate services stakeholder workshops and staff skills trainings. These sessions aimed to:

  • Raise awareness about and improve understanding of KMS climate services products among media and key government stakeholders;
  • Solicit feedback from stakeholders about their needs and how to improve the products; and
  • Enhance KMS staff members’ climate knowledge and applied technical skills.

The objective of the stakeholder workshops was to train representatives from the media and from key government sectors in the interpretation of the climate outlooks, as well as eliciting suggestions from them participants on ways to improve these products or to generate new products that better suit their needs.

“The Kiribati Climate outlook is a monthly bulletin issued from the KMS climate section which consist of information on the season climate condition and rainfall outlook for the next three months in Kiribati. The ultimate aim for this bulletin is to let the people of Kiribati (through media) and government sectors know such information for their planning and decision making,” Mr. Ueneta Toorua, Climate Officer said. 

“Since the information is very technical it also very difficult for KMS to know if everyone understands and uses this product,” he said.

The KMS climate service products (including information and forecasts on high tides, seasonal rainfall, and ENSO phases) have the potential to help government sectors better prepare for tidal inundation and drought. If these products are not properly understood or if they are misinterpreted, however, they are usually ignored or can even have a negative effect.

Evaluations rated the workshops very highly, noting that they have helped to raise awareness about ENSO’s effects on Kiribati, about the climate products coming out of the KMS, as well as the interpretation and uses of these products.

As a result of the one week workshop, government sector and media stakeholders benefitted from more targeted, understandable, and relevant climate products and services as a result of the feedback. In turn, the people of Kiribati will benefit from improved awareness and thus improved preparedness for seasonal climate variability.

View the current Climate Outlook for Kiribati on our Seasonal Climate Information.
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Also read about Kiribati’s future climate

HM Tiarite_G_Kwong

Kiribati’s speech during UNFCCC COP19

Republic of KiribatiHM Tiarite_G_Kwong
Statement by: Honorable Minister Mr. Tiarite George Kwong
Minister of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development
of the Republic of Kiribati

High Level Segment
UNFCCC COP 19th Metting

Warsaw, Poland
19 – 21 November 2013

Mr. President,
Excellencies,
UNFCCC Executive Secretary,
Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I bring to you all very warm greetings from the people of Kiribati, young and old, the Government and my President, His Excellency Anote Tong on whose behalf I am privileged to address this august body. In Kiribati we start all addresses by conferring blessings of peace and security on all those present so I would like to begin by saying to you all: KAM NA BANE NI MAURI.

Mr President,
I wish to take this opportunity to express my delegation.s and my own, deep appreciation to our gracious hosts, the Government and people of Poland for the warm hospitality we all have been accorded since our arrival in your beautiful country and for the meticulous arrangements to ensure the successful conduct of our meeting here in Warsaw.

Mr President,
I also wish to echo the sentiments conveyed by previous speakers in congratulating you Mr President on assuming the Presidency of this 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. I am confident that under your able stewardship, our work towards improving the security and quality of life for all members of our global community, in particular those who are the most vulnerable to climate change will move to new levels of international political commitment and support in an inclusive and transparent manner Kiribati fully supports you in this important task.

Mr. President,
I also want to commend the untiring commitment and work of our Secretary-General, His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon on the issue of climate change and the plight of the most vulnerable. those living on the front line of the climate challenge which includes my own country. The people of my country and of our region reiterate our deep gratitude for the Secretary General.s personal commitment in this regard. Under the UN SG leadership, Kiribati also expects the upcoming World Leaders Summit and the Global Conference on SIDS to inform the work of the ADP process with a guarantee of a new, ambitious and legally binding climate change protocol by 2015 that is centered on saving the most vulnerable countries like Kiribati and our global planet.

Mr President,
The challenges facing us as we gather again for this 19th session of COP here in Warsaw are even greater and urgent than when we met a year ago. Security challenges posed by climate change continue to undermine our efforts, the global family of nations to achieve sustainable development.our efforts as a global community to work towards peace and security. For some of us, it is a plea for basic survival. As such, I also wished to support and align my statement with those made by Fiji on behalf of the G77 and China, Nepal on behalf of Least Developed Countries and Nauru on behalf of Alliance of Small Island Developing States.

Mr President,
The tragic event facing the people of the Philippines following super typhoon Haiyan. clearly demonstrate the magnitude of the calamity facing us as we meet in Warsaw. We join previous speakers in conveying to the people and Government of the Philippines, and to those who lost loved ones, that we in Kiribati join you in prayer during these extremely sad and difficult times.

Mr. President,
What is happening in the Philippines is the reality of climate change. This reminds us of the important work we urgently need and must do now. We gather here in Warsaw, small island developing states, developing and developed states, small, medium sized and big countries because we have a common purpose. and a shared responsibility for our planet. to work together to address and find global concrete solution for the greatest challenge facing us with climate change.

Mr President,
Kiribati has and will again highlight that this is a critical issue for the survival of our people and indeed for all of humanity. Scientists tell us that calamity awaits and not just for those of us on low-lying islands. What we are experiencing now on these low-lying atolls is an early warning of what will happen further down the line for everyone. No one will be spared. We cannot continue to abuse our planet in this way. For the future we want for our children and grandchildren, we need leadership. We need collective action. We need commitment. We need Goodwill NOW at COP19.

Mr President,
My delegation was very much touched by the opening session program showcasing the situation and the dream of our children living in the other Poland, a village in Kiribati. This means a lot to us, it demonstrates a message of hope that under your presidency and chairmanship – the focus of COP 19 is to have a better and safer future for our children that is inclusive and transparent. not only in Kiribati and Poland and around the world.

Mr President,
While we welcome the progress achieved so far under the UNFCCC process it still is NOT ENOUGH to ensure the survival of our people and our planet. The recent release of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5) reaffirms what we already know and what we are already experiencing on the ground. It reconfirms the need to ask even harder questions for us in Kiribati – what lies beyond adaptation? What can be done if we can no longer adapt to climate change?

How can we continue to adapt, when our survival is at stake??

Mr President,
Kiribati calls for equal importance to be given to both mitigation and adaptation measures through balanced resource allocation. The delivery of international adaptation finance and resources are taking much too long. The Green Climate Fund needs to be operationalized and resourced as SOON as possible so it can start its operations by the end of 2014. Kiribati calls for improved access in particular for SIDS and LDCs, especially through direct access. We also call on our partners from developed countries to announce and pledge scaled-up climate finance for the years to come as part of the outcomes here in Warsaw, including also the need to increase the level of mitigation commitments and ambitions.

Mr. President,
Kiribati is very concerned with the current lack of ambition to reduce greenhouse gases. The inadequate support for adaptation for SIDS means increased vulnerabilities, high exposure to external shocks and increasing adverse effects of climate change. The establishment of an international mechanism on Loss and Damage is crucial and must be in place now here in this meeting as we have decided in Doha. For countries like Kiribati, loss and damage can no longer be avoided through mitigation nor can be avoided through adaptation. In this regard, loss and damage must be treated with the urgency it demands.

Mr. President,
Time is running out for us. Climate change poses the most urgent security challenge for Kiribati. now. We are in the front line of all this. It is already causing severe coastal erosions, involuntary displacement of villages, decrease in food and water security, and more importantly, has become a survival issue. These impacts are putting enormous pressure on domestic institutions, the national budget, the families and the sense of well-being of the people. These will continue to be exacerbated in the foreseeable future.

Mr. President,
We cannot continue to stand on the side-lines and wait for others to deliver. In Kiribati, we are taking charge of our situation and moving forward with our mitigation and adaptation strategies. We are now working directly with our partners on this like Australia, EU and Taiwan to implement our national adaptation priorities.

Mr President,
While we are taking adaptation measures to ensure that Kiribati remains habitable for as long as possible, prudence demands that we prepare for a long term future for our people. Kiribati has taken the position that it would be irresponsible to acknowledge what we are experiencing on the groundand not do anything to prepare our people and communities for eventual migration, in circumstances that permit them to migrate with dignity. We must prepare our people for this eventuality. That said relocation will always be viewed as an option of last resort. So what are we doing Mr President? Let me share a few of the things that we are doing in Kiribati. We are buying land offshore to enhance food security for our people. We are also working on improving the education and the skills of our people to a level where they are able to compete for jobs in the international labour market. We have facilitated overseas employment and permanent emigration opportunities for our people. These are in line with Governments policy on relocation and migration with dignity. We want our people to have the option to MIGRATE WITH DIGNITY, so they can contribute meaningfully to their new homes rather than climate refugees. We are exploring long term survivability and self-reliance options that ensures sustainability of culture, heritage and identity of the Kiribati people. We are looking at the various options available to a disappearing state, the legalities and the precedents.

Mr President,
We can only do so much, WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE. Much more needs to be done. Because of climate change, our future as a nation and as people is uncertain. Like many others here in this room. We present a whole new security challenge. We also bring a whole new meaning to human rights and the right to a secure future? Climate change has raised a new dimension of human rights, the right to clean drinking water, the right to education, the right to survival. It has also brought a new dimension to the definition of the word refugee.

Mr President,
As we meet this time in Warsaw for COP 19, we challenge all delegations to focus on the urgent need to address the urgent security implications of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, existential threat, more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, threats to water and food security, slow onset events, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement of communities. But above all Mr President, let us focus on the human dimensions of climate change, including, where necessary, initiatives for preparing communities and whole peoples for relocation.

Mr President,
We have every confidence that under your able presidency and the Polish Government’s leadership,  you will craft and steer this UNFCCC process to these new innovative levels that can help set a new PEOPLE oriented course for this crucial multilateral process. When all of us return to our respective homes from Warsaw, to our respective children, and grandchildren we must be able to look them in the eye and tell them with all honesty that we have done all that is within our collective powers to combat the devastating consequences of climate change. I would like to conclude by wishing you all the Kiribati traditional blessings of: TE MAURI, TE RAOI AO TE TABOMOA . meaning, May Health, Peace and Prosperity be with you Mr President as well as on all of us.

I thank you Mr. President.

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A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Global emissions hit record high

 

A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

A former fresh water pond that now is flooded with sea water that is killing coconut trees and milk fish stocks, both vital parts of the local diet. Photo: Justin McManus/The Age

World carbon dioxide pollution levels in the atmosphere are accelerating and reached a record high in 2012, the U.N. weather agency said Wednesday, The Christian Science Monitor, reports.

The heat-trapping gas, pumped into the air by cars and smokestacks, was measured at 393.1 parts per million last year, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year, said the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization in its annual greenhouse gas inventory.

That is far beyond the 350 ppm that some scientists and environmental groups promote as the absolute upper limit for a safe level.

As the chief gas blamed for global warming, carbon dioxide’s 2012 increase outpaced the past decade’s average annual increase of 2.02 ppm.

Based on that rate, the organization says the world’s carbon dioxide pollution level is expected to cross the 400 ppm threshold by 2016. That level already was reached at some individual measurement stations in 2012 and 2013.

Read the full story on The Christian Science Monitor
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Also read about Kiribati’s future climate

Suset in Kiribati. Photo by Michael obyrne

Kiribati solar PV training on the way

Suset in Kiribati. Photo by Michael obyrneSunlabob Renewable Energy, the Laos-based company specializing in renewable energy and clean water solutions throughout developing areas of the world, today (29 August 2013) announced it has been awarded a contract to provide hands-on solar PV training for local engineers and technicians in Kiribati, one of the least-developed island states in the Pacific region. The trainings – funded by the European Development Fund and managed by the Government of the Republic of Kiribati – will include Sunlabob experts providing instruction for on- and off-grid solar PV installation, operation and maintenance techniques, Eco Business reports.

The project comes on the heels of Sunlabob winning a contract in Kiribati in early 2013 to supply solar PV and related equipment for a variety of decentralized solar energy installations, including more than two-thousand solar home systems, hundreds of small businesses, community centers and schools, as well as village mini-grids.

“Providing local training is directly in line with Sunlabob’s tradition: to ensure self-sustaining, long-lasting renewable energy access by equipping local individual with the right skills,” said Andy Schroeter, co-founder and CEO, Sunlabob. “We’re pleased to be able to not only supply the solar PV materials to Kiribati’s electrification initiative, but to also provide the necessary human knowledge and training.”

The training, to be led by Sunlabob head engineer Antony Watkins, will consist of two parts. The first training will familiarize local engineers with grid-connected solar PV systems, resulting in the installation and commissioning of a 10 kWp grid-connected system at the Kiribati Solar Energy Company (KSEC) headquarters.

The second training will focus on off-grid solar-diesel hybrid systems, which will facilitate the implementation of hybrid solar systems at schools, small business and community centers throughout the islands. Both phases of training will comprise workshops that include theoretical knowledge-building and also hands-on practical technical instruction.

Read the full story on Eco-Business.com
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Related story: New solar Project for South Tarawa
Find out more about the 2013 Pacific Energy Summit

Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea.  Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Global Climate efforts to be renewed at Pacific Summit

Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea.  Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Residents stand by the site of their former village, Tebunginako, now inundated by the sea. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age.

Some of the world’s smallest nations will use a Pacific summit this week to push the globe’s biggest polluters to finally act on climate change, an issue that threatens their very existence, Zee News reports.

Host nation the Marshall Islands wants the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which opens in the capital Majuro on Tuesday, to kickstart stalled international efforts to tackle global warming and rising seas.

“We want this to be the Pacific Islands Forum where the region says ‘enough’s enough’,” said Marshall Islands Minister Assisting the President Tony deBrum.

“The Pacific Rim is the source of more than 60 per cent of the world’s emissions and rising, so this is the key battlefield in the war against climate change. It’s time for us to unleash a new wave of climate leadership.”

The 15-nation PIF consists mainly of small island states, along with resource-rich Papua New Guinea and regional powers Australia and New Zealand.

Read the full story on Zee News
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This sea wall is all that protects these homes in the village of Abarao on the island of Tarawa. Copyright: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Social Dimension of Climate Change

The Minister for Environment, Lands & Agricultural Development and Chairman to Parliamentary Climate Change Committee, Hon. Tiarite Tioti Kwong launched the Kiribati Documentary on Social Dimension of Climate Change on Friday 02 August 2013 at Parliament club, Ambo.

The documentary supported by the EU Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) Global Climate project, shows the impacts of climate change on the densely populated island of South Tarawa, Kiribati’s capital.

“Variability is threatening our existence as a nation and people, but Climate Change is now deriving us from the basic necessities of life, water, food, health and our ecosystem,” he said.

“To meet this challenge, all stakeholders within country and externally need to work as one. Mainstreaming climate change into national priorities to be able to come up with focused solutions to work against Climate Change — whether through adaptation investments, technical assistance or public awareness is therefore an urgent call.” Hon Tiarite Tiooti Kwong stated.

Watch the full video below.

Also read…
WHO links climate change and disease increase
Climate Change and Health
Climate Change and People

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Figure 1: Carbon dioxide (C02 ) concentrations associated with three IPCC emissions scenarios: low (B1- blue), medium (A1B - green) and high (A2 - purple). The PCCSP has analysed climate model results for periods centred on 1990, 2030, 2055 and 2090 (shaded). Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

How do scientists develop climate projections?

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.

Global climate models are the best tools for understanding future climate change. Climate models are mathematical representations of the climate system that require very powerful computers. They are based on the laws of physics and include information about the atmosphere, ocean, land and ice.

There are many different global climate models and they all represent the climate slightly differently. Scientists from the Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP) have evaluated 24 models from around the world and found that 18 best represent the climate of the western tropical Pacific region. These 18 models have been used to develop climate projections for Kiribati.

Figure 1: Carbon dioxide (C02 ) concentrations associated with three IPCC emissions scenarios: low (B1- blue), medium (A1B - green) and high (A2 - purple). The PCCSP has analysed climate model results for periods centred on 1990, 2030, 2055 and 2090 (shaded). Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

Figure 1: Carbon dioxide (C02 ) concentrations associated with three IPCC emissions scenarios: low (B1- blue), medium (A1B – green) and high (A2 – purple). The PCCSP has analysed climate model results for periods centred on 1990, 2030, 2055 and 2090 (shaded). Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

The future climate will be determined by a combination of natural and human factors. As we do not know what the future holds, we need to consider a range of possible future conditions, or scenarios, in climate models. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) developed a series of plausible scenarios based on a set of assumptions about future population changes, economic development and technological advances. For example, the A1B (or medium) emissions scenarios envisages global population peaking mid-century and declining thereafter, very rapid economic growth, and rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies. Greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions scenarios are used in climate modelling to provide projections that represent a range of possible futures.

The climate projections for Kiribati on this website are based on three IPCC emissions scenarios: low (B1), medium (A1B) and high (A2), for time periods around 2030, 2055 and 2090. Since individual models give different results, the projections are presented as a range of values.

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.

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

The new village is now under threat of inundation and sea walls have to be constantly maintained. Photo: Justin McManus, The Age

Changing climate

Temperatures have increased

Annual and seasonal maximum temperatures have increased in Tarawa since 1950. Maximum temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade. These temperature increases are consistent with the global pattern of warming.

Figure 3: Annual average temperature for Tarawa. Light blue bars indicate El Nino years, dark blue bars indicate La Nina years and the grey bars indicate neutral years. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org
Figure 3: Annual average temperature for Tarawa. Light blue bars indicate El Nino years, dark blue bars indicate La Nina years and the grey bars indicate neutral years.

Annual rainfall has increased

Data since 1951 for Kirimati show a clear increasing trend in annual and wet season rainfall, but no trend in annual and wet season rainfall, but no trend in the dry season. At Tarawa, rainfall data show no clear trends. Over this period, there has been substantial variation in rainfall from year to year at both sites.

Figure 4: Annual rainfall for Kiritimati. Light blue bars indicate El Nino years, dark blue bars indicate La Nina years and the grey bars indicate the neutral years. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.org

Figure 4: Annual rainfall for Kiritimati. Light blue bars indicate El Nino years, dark blue bars indicate La Nina years and the grey bars indicate the neutral years. Source: www.pacificclimatechangescience.orgSea level has risen

Sea level has risen

As ocean water warms it expands causing the sea level to rise, the melting of glaciers and ice sheets also contributes to sea-level rise.

Instruments mounted on satellites and tide gauges are used to measure sea level. Satellite data indicate the sea level has risen across Kiribati by 1 – 4mm per year since 1993, compared to the global average of 2.8 – 3.6 mm per year. Sea level rise naturally fluctuates from year to year and decade to decade as a result of phenomena such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.

Figure 6: Observed and projected relative sea-level change in Kiribati. The observed sea-level records are indicated in dark blue (relative tide-gauge observations) and light blue (satellite record since 1993). Reconstructed estimates of sea level near Kiribati (since 1950) are shown in purple. The projections for the A1B (medium) emissions scenario (representing 90% of the range of models) are shown by the shaded green region from 1990 to 2100. The dashed lines are an estimate of the 90% of the range of natural year-to-year variability in sea level.

Figure 6: Observed and projected relative sea-level change in Kiribati. The observed sea-level records are indicated in dark blue (relative tide-gauge observations) and light blue (satellite record since 1993). Reconstructed estimates of sea level near Kiribati (since 1950) are shown in purple. The projections for the A1B (medium) emissions scenario (representing 90% of the range of models) are shown by the shaded green region from 1990 to 2100. The dashed lines are an estimate of the 90% of the range of natural year-to-year variability in sea level.

Ocean acidification has been increasing

About one quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted from human activities each year is absorbed by the oceans. As the extra carbon dioxide reacts with sea water it causes the ocean to become slightly more acidic. This impacts the growth of corals and organisms that construct their skeletons from carbonate minerals. These species are critical to the balance of tropical reef ecosystems. Data show that since the 18th century the level of ocean acidification has been slowly increasing in Kiribati’s waters.

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.