Region V: South-West Pacific
The South-West Pacific Region is a vast area that includes Southeast Asia and the Pacific, encompassing 24 WMO Members that fall within the scope of the WMO Regional Office for Asia and the South-West Pacific, which are served through the Representative Office for South West Pacific (SWP). It covers various climate zones and is prone to a wide array of climate and weather-related impacts, from heatwaves and droughts to cyclones and floods. Southeast Asia's climate is largely shaped by monsoons and trade winds, while the Pacific is influenced by La Niña and El Niño cycles. The region is also part of the seismically active Pacific Rim.
Projects in the region
Flash Flood Guidance System with Global Coverage (FFGS)
Flash floods are among the world’s deadliest natural disasters with more than 5 000 lives lost annually. Their social, economic and environmental impacts are significant. Accounting for approximately 85% of flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate among different classes of flooding, including riverine and coastal. Flash floods differ from river floods in their short time scales and occurrence on small spatial scales, which makes flash flood forecasting a different challenge from large-river flood forecasting. In flash floods forecasting, we are concerned mostly with the forecast of occurrence, and focus on two causative events: 1) intense rainfall; and 2) rainfall on saturated soils. Flash floods occur throughout the world, and the development times vary across regions from minutes to several hours depending on the land surface, geomorphological and hydrometeorological characteristics of the region. However, for the majority of these areas, there exists no formal process or capacity for developing flash flood warnings.
Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Pacific
The Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of hydro-meteorological events and climate change. The island economies and livelihoods are regularly affected by hydro-meteorological hazards such as tropical cyclones, heavy rains, drought, sea level rise and storm surges. With the desired impact of reduced loss of human life and reduced economic losses due to hydro-meteorological extreme events in the Pacific, the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative has allocated US$ 2.5 million to this WMO-led project. The project works to build NMHSs capacities through ensuring necessary institutional framework and strategies are in place, modernizing forecasting facilities, enhancing service delivery, and implementing community based early warning systems.
Weather and Climate Early Warning System for Papua New Guinea
The Weather and Climate Early Warning System for Papua New Guinea project provides improved drought monitoring and early warning systems that can foster better decision making for the following sectors: agriculture, disaster management, energy and infrastructure. Other hazards related to droughts such as frost and bush fires would also be indirectly addressed. The project creates end-to-end EWS focused on reducing drought impacts, while at the same time leveraging and providing a foundation for EWS focused on other hazards, and specifically flooding. The project address improved weather observations, climate data management of historical data for the monitoring of drought, climate data rescue, state-of-the-art seasonal forecasting coupled with monitoring and advisories for drought, and a more efficient distribution of alerts and information suitable for decision making at national and local level. The focus is on building the capacity of the National Meteorological Service and strengthening its cooperation with key sectoral ministries, departments and other stakeholders working in the above areas to put in place complete systems that deliver warnings and relevant information to end-users. Enhancement of these basic capabilities is complemented with support for integration of early warnings into national processes. The project bring together technical expertise from cooperating institutions to ensure access to relevant data, products, tools, training, and equipment. The selected sectors addressed by the project provide showcases for development of additional services subsequently. Several additional on-going or planned projects which the current project complements are identified below.
Coastal Inundation Forecasting Demonstration Project Fiji (CIFDP-F) : Development of an Integrated Coastal Inundation Forecasting System in Fiji
The CIFDP- F is facilitating the development of efficient forecasting and warning systems for coastal inundation based on robust science and observations, along vulnerable coastal areas in Fiji. In doing so, the CIFDP-F will integrate cross-cutting scientific models into an open forecasting environment for the purpose of improving/ expanding/ developing the forecasting and warning systems for storm surges, hydrological response to heavy rainfall and Tropical Cyclone landfall on coastal areas, and other phenomena causing coastal inundation. Beneficiary groups are mainly coastal communities in Fiji in the immediate term, through the improved performance of national institutions responsible for coastal disaster forecasting, warning, and climate adaptation planning. Every year, populations in coastal zones are impacted by coastal inundation caused by waves, including long period swell, storm surges and hydrological inundation, resulting in loss of life and damage to property. The results of this project will provide critical information to improve forecasting, warning, and evacuation planning in coastal zones. The beneficiary sectors will include the coastal residents (end users) in agriculture, fishery, tourism and other industries, disaster managers in central and regional governments (intermediary users). In particular, improved forecasting services will serve greatly to ensure safe operation of tourism business, which is a major source of Fiji’s income. The project is divided into phases to be implemented within the period 2016 to 2020 and a total budget of USD 1.2 million, generously provided by the Korea Meteorological Administration.
Intra-ACP Climate Services and Related Applications (ClimSA)
The six-year Intra-ACP [African, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States] Climate Services and Related Applications (ClimSA) project – with EUR 85 million in funding from the European Union – aims to improve the production, access to and use of climate information, services and applications for decision makers. The project will foster sustainable development through the prevention of desertification, preservation of ecological biodiversity and the sustainable use of water management in ACP countries. The WMO grant of EUR 5.5 million supports ACP regional partners to improve the climate services value chain in five priority sectors: agriculture, disaster risk reduction, energy, health, and water. Underpinned by capacity development and knowledge management, WMO technical guidance addresses observations, data, predictions, models and the mainstreaming of climate services into policy processes.
Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-Meteorological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and South East Asia
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has allocated CAD $10 million to the project Building Resilience to High-Impact Hydro-Meterological Events through Strengthening Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and South East Asia, representing its institutional support to the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. An additional CAD 3.3 million has been provided from the CREWS Multi-Donor Trust Fund. Running until March 2021, the multi-country project will strengthen weather-, climate-, and water-related impact-based decision support services, protecting lives and property in three regions: South East Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Pacific (CREWS Pacific SIDS 2.0)
Of the 4.3 billion people living in Asia Pacific, it is the 2.3 million inhabiting the Pacific’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS) who face the highest level of disaster and climate risk. The Asia Pacific Disaster Report 2019 rates the risk level as 3 to 4 times that of any other population in the entire region. The World Risk Report 2018 places five Pacific SIDS among its ten most at-risk countries in the world. The Pacific is on the frontline of the climate crisis. CREWS Pacific SIDS 2.0 is the second regional CREWS Project in the Pacific. This project is an extension of the CREWS Pacific SIDS project (2017-2021) and aims to upscale its efforts in the Pacific Region. CREWS Pacific SIDS 2.0 seeks to strengthen existing early warning systems that are part of the region’s stronger and more comprehensive human security and resilience agenda. The project contributes to the SENDAI Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, WMO’s Long-Term Goals and Strategic Objectives, the Kainaki II Declaration, as well as the priorities of the Pacific Islands Meteorology Strategy (PIMS) 2017-2026.