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Developing methodology to evaluate climate change impacts on storm surge/storm wave hazards in Small Island Developing States

2017-03-27

Introduction

RESTEC is working to develop the methodology to evaluate climate change impacts on storm surge/storm wave hazards in Small Island Developing States funded by the Ministry of the Environment Japan in the collaboration with regional agencies such as Asia Pacific Adaptation Network(APAN), The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), The Pacific Community(SPC) and The University of South Pacific (USP). Here is the status report.

Background

In November 2015, the Cabinet of Japan established the “National Plan for Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change.” The Plan includes, as one of basic strategies, promotion of international cooperation with developing countries through assistance of climate change impact assessments and formulation of adaptation plans based on scientific findings.
Preparation against natural disasters caused by extreme weather, which may be expanded by global warming, should be one of important issues of adaptation strategies to climate change. IPCC AR5 report (WG2) listed the countries vulnerable to typhoon, cyclone and hurricane and many Small Island Developing States (SIDs), such as Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu are listed as one of those vulnerable countries. However, SIDs have difficulties applying global climate models since the grid size is too large to represent the complex morphological variations of SIDs.

Key Technologies

Early studies done in Japanese Fiscal Year (JFY) 2015 revealed that maximum wave heights estimated from historical cyclone data may differ locally. In addition to studies on historical data, future variations of coastal waves in cases of extreme weather events under climate change conditions will be investigated. Future extreme weather events (tropical cyclones) will be made by a numerical weather prediction model using global warming projections for CMIP5. Model outputs will be validated using satellite-based sea surface wind observations. To reduce labor-intensive work to measure the bathymetry which is the key information for nearshore wave height assessment, the Satellite Derived Bathymetry (SDB) will be applied The prototype 3D-based hazard map system will be developed to display the output of storm surge/wave simulation. The system will be designed to display various kinds of data including those of stakeholders and preceding projects, for Climate Change impacts evaluation. As a final stage, we would like to propose the geospatial portal to share the information regarding climate change adaptation among stakeholders in the south pacific island. For its development, RESTEC forms the study team among The university of Tokyo, Kanazawa University and Broad Band Tower Inc.

Way Forward

RESTEC continue to develop the methodology and started the dialogue for sustainable operation for the South Pacific Region. In particular, regional collaboration with SPREP,SPC and USP is the key driver. For upcoming COP23, RESTEC plans to work to demonstrate the value of the methodologies in collaboration with the Climate Change Unit of Fiji and regional partners.