Oral Presentation AMOS Annual Meeting and International Conference on Tropical Meteorology and Oceanography

Visualizing and understanding seasonality and climate variability using Seasonal Calendars (#30)

Siosinamele Lui 1 , Lynda Chambers 2 , Ofa Fa'anunu 3 , Rossylynn Pulehetoa-Mitiepo 4 , Noel Sanau 5 , Lloyd Tahani 5 , Tile Tofaenon 6 , Albert Willy 7 , Philip Malsale 1 , Roan Plotz 8
  1. SPREP, Apia, Samoa
  2. Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
  3. Tonga National Meteorological and Coastal Radio Services, Nukualofa, Tonga
  4. Niue Meteorological Service, Alofi, Niue
  5. Solomon Islands Meteorology Services, Honiara, Solomon Islands
  6. Samoa Meteorology Division, Apia, Samoa
  7. Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, Port Vila, Vanuatu
  8. Institute of Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Understanding seasonality, climate variability and climate change in the Pacific is complex. For many communities in the Pacific, ‘weather’, seasonality, climate variability, extreme climate events and climate change are words and concepts that are not well understood nor easily communicated.

For most Pacific Island communities, seasonality is understood in terms of the time of year when terrestrial and marine resources are harvested or when cultural festivities and activities are celebrated and carried out. Often recognition of seasonality and the timing as determined by

  • biological indicators and how they respond to climate
  • noting that there is no clear demarcation and set time for seasons
  • that the cyclical lifecycles and their knowledge of the environment and seasonal changes do not follow the seasons as determined by western cultures
  • seasons are interconnected and fluid

The work undertaken by Pacific Meteorological Services from five countries in the Pacific (Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), has shown that Seasonal Calendars can be used to define and explain how seasons, climate change and climate variability work.  This process ensured that potentially complex scientific information and data were easily understood by communities.