Samoa is holding its first National Climate Outlook Forum this week that aims to bring together climate scientists and representatives from user sectors and stakeholders to identify impacts, implications and formulate response strategies to ensure Samoa has consistent access to, and interpretation of, climate information.
Held at the Lava Hotel conference rooms, the programme launched on Wednesday morning and was well attended by representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), Climate Risk and Early Warning Organization, Samoa Meteorology Division and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). Non Government Organisations, stakeholders and users of climate information were also represented in the discussion forum that will take place over the next three days.
The opening prayer was led by Reverend Clay Tofilau, while the ACEO of Samoa Met Office, Afaese Dr Luteru Tauvale formally welcomed the participants. The Chief Executive Officer of MNRE, Frances Brown-Reupena delivered the keynote address to set the scene and forum objectives.
The World Meteorological Organisation representative, Mr Henry Taiki spoke to discuss the role of WMO in the development of Regional Climate Outlook Forums, where Samoa is a participant at the South-West Pacific Forum.
Mr Taiki said the three-day seminar aims to help participants gain a better understanding of the weather as well as climate services and products through the sharing of experiences and knowledge on weather and climate for planning and decision making.
“This is a very important platform for participating organisations to develop a consensus for climate outlook.. It is the first National Climate Outlook Forum for Samoa, so I hope this weeks programme will be a success, and we can continue to do this every year.”
Effective media and communication strategies is one of the forum objectives, and Samoa’s media organisations were represented by senior reporters, Lagi Keresome and Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia.
The forum will discuss the climate outlook for Samoa as it enters the upcoming cyclone season. Presentations will include the climate status of the past 6 months, the El Nino-Southern Oscillation outlook (ENSO) and the tropical cyclone outlook.
Resources Available to Samoa
An output of Regional Climate Outlook Forums includes the Island Climate Update (ICU) – a monthly climate bulletin, aimed at assisting Pacific Island Countries (PICs) in making informed planning and management decisions relating to climate sensitive sectors through the provision of timely and accurate seasonal forecasts. It is published monthly both in print and online by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand and is funded by the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID).
Another resource available to Samoa is the Pacific Islands online Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF) – coordinated by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology as part of the Pacific Islands Climate Prediction Project (PI-CPP) funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). Samoa participates in this monthly forum where a statistical-based model developed under the Project, called SCOPIC, runs seasonal climate outlooks for the coming three-month period.