Vanuatu Launches First Ocean Climate Monitoring Network to Combat Climate Change Effects

Yesterday, the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (VanKIRAP) project put in place the country’s First Ocean Climate Monitoring and Observation Buoy Network. This is a breakthrough for Vanuatu.

Ralph Regenvanu, who is the Minister for Climate Change Adaptation, launched the buoy network at The Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila.

“I can’t say enough about how important this climate and ocean monitoring system is for helping Vanuatu build and improve its early warning systems for multiple hazards,” Minister Regenvanu said.

After the twin cyclones that hit our country last week, today’s start couldn’t be better. Not only did they hit a day apart, but they were also very strong.

He also said that climate science says that extreme events in Vanuatu, such as tropical storms, flooding, sea level rise, acidification of the ocean, and marine heatwaves, will get worse and cause damage in the future.

Minister Regenvanu said, “To deal with these changes, we need good observations and scientific data to support our planning and policymaking and to help Vanuatu develop in a resilient way that adapts to climate change.”

The Vanuatu Ocean Monitoring Network is a chain of six ocean climate monitoring buoys spread out across Vanuatu island. These buoys are used to keep track of how climate change is affecting the ocean around the country and to give communities and key agencies advance notice of climate-related events that are about to happen.

The buoys are set up at Port Vila, Efate; Million Dollar Point, Santo; Lonnoc Beach, Santo; Port Resolution, Tanna; Inyeug Island, Aneityum; and Tomman Island, Malekula.

The buoys measure the sea surface temperature, wave direction, wave height, wave period, wave spread, and wind speed at each position.

With the information they gather, VMGD and the Department of Fisheries can tell communities about flooding and erosion along the coast ahead of time. The buoys can also report on the effects of climate-related events like cyclones and coastal heatwaves in close to real-time.

In this way, the buoys are already giving us helpful information. For example, the ocean tracking network measured wave heights of 5 meters at Port Resolution, Tanna, and 4.5 meters at Aneityum during the recent intense cyclones Judy and Kevin.

The Vanuatu Ocean Monitoring Network is a vital part of the VanKIRAP Project. It helps spread science-based climate knowledge to prepare better Vanuatu’s key sectors, policymakers, and the public to face the challenges of a changing climate.

The Ocean Climate Monitoring Network is a joint project of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), the Vanuatu Fisheries Department, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Through the VanKIRAP project, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) helps pay for things.



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