Synopsis 2 – Building resilient communities and community services

Chair: Colette Mortreux


Engaging beyond grief and fear for effective adaptation action (933)

Celeste Young 1

  1. Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Adaptation is a social process which requires change. For many people and communities this can be difficult and can cause grief and fear responses which if not managed properly can act as barriers to action. This requires thinking beyond simple communication into complex engagement that is context and task specific. It requires understanding what informs responses to adaptation and how to manage these responses through communication in a way that promotes understanding and agency to act.

Using case studies, this presentation will examine communication during the adaptation process and highlight how change management and innovation tools and methods can be used during these different phases to achieve effective communication. It will also examine areas of resistance and show how established phsychology frameworks can be used to assist the development of communication strategies that allow for movement through grief and fear into ownership and action.


Learning from past severe droughts in Niue for future adaptation (1098)

Rossy Mitiepo 1 , Grant Beard 2

  1. Niue Meteorological Service, Alofi,, Niue
  2. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Niue’s climate has a strong relationship with El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Annual rainfall in the wettest years can be almost four times the rainfall in the driest years. This paper investigates the effect of ENSO on rainfall in Niue and examines how the local population have adapted to droughts in the past, particularly the 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 events. Most droughts are associated with El Niño events. Rainfall data for Alofi-Hanan Airport from 1950 to 2013 is examined using the Seasonal Climate Outlook for Pacific Island Countries (SCOPIC) software package. SCOPIC’s primary purpose is to produce station based statistical climate outlooks and monitor drought. SCOPIC can also be used to examine ENSO-local climate relationships and compare past drought events. An examination of local sea surface temperature from a web-based COSPPac Ocean Data Portal shows the development of cool water anomalies around Niue during the September to December period in most El Niño years.

Niue’s agricultural and water sectors have been severely impacted by past droughts, particularly Taro, the staple food crop. In the past the deprivation of water was compensated through collecting cave water as a means of survival. Through understanding past severe droughts in Niue and determining the extent of ground water in Niue we can implement near and long-term adaptation strategies.


Perceived climate change impacts and adaption options among cropping farmers: Evidence from North-West Cambodia (1099)

Van Touch 1 , Robert J Martin 1 , Annette Cowie 2 , Fiona Scott 3 , De Li Liu 4

  1. University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
  2. Rural Climate Solutions; A partnership between University of New England and NSW Department of Primary Industries, Armidale, NSW, Australia
  3. NSW Trade & Investment, Tamworth, QLD, Australia
  4. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wagga Wagga, QLD, Australia

This research examined impacts and adaption options to climate variability and change among cropping smallholders in the rain-fed farming systems in North-West Cambodia. The household survey was done in early 2013 where 390 farmers were interviewed using participatory diagnostic tools. The study found most respondents perceived the changes in climate – included changed rainfall pattern (93%), extended dry season (82%), delayed the start of rainy season (92%), declining annual rainfall (89%) and rising temperature (91%). Most of these perceptions were consistent with regional climate records. Comparing the current yield (2012) and past yield (2008), the farmers experienced yield declines of 28% (maize), 16% (cassava), 22% (soybean), 19% (mungbean) and 29% (peanut); while the official statistics showed the yield decreases of 20% (maize), 28% (cassava), 20% (soybean), 9% (mungbean) and 3% (peanut). Although the causes of yield declines could not be clearly explained, the farmers believed climate was one of the most critical factors causing the decline.

Changing crop species and adjusting sowing date were the most common measures proposed by farmers to tackle climate variability and change in the region. However, most of them struggled to deal with the adverse climate impacts. Options to reduce climate risk such as adoption of conservation agriculture practices did not appear to be a consideration by farmers. Studies on climate variability and change in relation to farming systems are urgently required, and appropriate coping and adaptation measures should be assessed and implemented to more effectively reduce the risk of adverse impacts of climate change.


How the Vanuatu Rainfall Network helps to improve climate science and adaptation planning: building support for action (1103)

Philip Masale 1 , Elizabeth Thompson 2

  1. Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department, Docklands, VIC, Australia
  2. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Tropical Pacific climate data is particularly important to our understanding of the global climate system. Most research projects dealing with climate change require sufficient and accurate data to reach useful conclusions, although available data of this quality is currently limited. Thus, robust networks of climate information, including rainfall observations in the Pacific region are crucial for climate research.

The Vanuatu Rainfall Network (VRN) supports the effort to build and sustain the global climate observing system that is needed to satisfy the long-term climate observational requirements of the operational climate forecast centres, international research programs, and major scientific assessments. Our current and future efforts include expanding our mission to collect, analyse, verify and disseminate Vanuatu’s rainfall data sets and products. We will present the latest work by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department in establishing an in-country rainfall collection network. This network consists of around eighty-four rainfall sites throughout the country. This work demonstrates that given dedicated in-country climate officers, a useful and accurate climate network could be set up in other Pacific island countries. It can be run, maintained and owned by individuals in the communities, on a relatively low budget through effective collaboration with projects implemented in the Pacific region. The network acts as a focal point for the Vanuatu Government in terms of sourcing climate weather information for the communities. It also acts to build partnerships with agencies such as the National Red Cross and National Disaster Management Office. The network provides a platform for empowering provincial and community-based climate change advisors and disaster risk reduction officers to fulfil the vision of the Vanuatu Government to take government services to all corners of Vanuatu.


Improving drought response by examining past impacts on water resources in Port Moresby (1064)

Kila K Kila 1 , Jason Smith 2

  1. Papua New Guinea National Weather Service, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  2. Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia
Papua New Guinea is one location in the Pacific that is impacted by the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Past records show that El Niño extremes can lead to severe droughts such as the one that occurred in 1997/1998. This event was extreme enough to cause devastating impacts on Port Moresby and around Papua New Guinea (PNG). Port Moresby has become an area of interest due to its susceptibility to drought and reliance on hydro-electricity which has prompted further research on severe drought impacts that occur as a result of El Niño.
This study is aimed at investigating how the impact of the past droughts on water resources in Port Moresby can be used to prioritise drought response and adaptation measures for future El Niño events. Reliable long term climate records exist for Port Moresby which were used to examine the links between rainfall, temperature, drought, and El Nino. The Southern Oscillation Index, NINO3.4 and local sea surface temperatures were used as indicators of El Niño.
My preliminary research indicates that El Niño events generally lead to a reduction in rainfall at Port Moresby which can lead to severe drought. Previous records show devastating impacts of this reduction in rainfall on water resources. The two main entities affected are the PNG Power (power supplier) and Eda Ranu (Water supplier) who rely heavily on a single water storage reservoir. Increasing population in and around Port Moresby means that the impacts of water scarcity are likely to increase in the future.