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Ocean and Tides workshop makes immediate impact on Niue communities

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Oceans and Tide workshop Nuie

9 Apr 2018 | Alofi

Niuean communities and businesses that rely on the ocean are putting to use tools and knowledge acquired in March during the Australian-funded Ocean and Tides Workshop, hosted by Niue Meteorological Service. Participants from communities, the tourism sector and disaster management services report they are applying new knowledge for improved decision-making and better results. The 4-day workshop, which was held from 19-22 March, was planned in consultation with Niue Met Service and facilitated by ocean experts from the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. It featured two days of technical training for the Niue Met Service Staff followed by two days of ocean stakeholder training and consultation with a wide range of user groups. In the weeks following the workshop, participants have indicated it has already made a difference in their work.

 

“For me personally I am now able to understand tides, especially with the tide calendars,” says Mr. Robin Hekau of Niue National Disaster Management Office. “Before I would get a copy and would never look into it deeply but now I am able to read it and understand it more.”  Participants received training on marine meteorology, technical skills and an introduction to ocean data tools, including tide calendars, real-time data from Niue’s new tide gauge, and the Pacific Ocean Portal – a website that makes ocean temperature, waves, sea level and other key forecast maps and graphs easily accessible.

“We learned in detail about tides and the different types of tide, and this helps us to improve and provide better forecasts for Niue,” says Clemencia Sinoeholo, a Meteorology Trainee Officer at Niue Met Service. Mr Keith Vial is a fisherman, owner of Niue Tours, and Commodore of the Niue Yacht Club. “After the workshop, we immediately started using the tide chart for our tour operations, and we are now including the highest high tide and lowest low tide for the month as well,” he reports. “I am also collating all the relevant information from the Ocean Portal to be included in the Niue Yacht Club’s website for the coming season.”

Molly Powers-Tora, Coordinator for Ocean Intelligence at SPC, highlighted the benefits of the event saying, “The workshop was particularly timely since Niue tide gauge data has just recently been added to the online Real-time Data Display. This site allows users anywhere with an internet connection to see the current sea level at Alofi Wharf as well as wind direction, speed, and water temperature. The fishermen, tourism operators, conservation officers, yachters, and emergency management folks were all very excited to learn about this.”

This is the seventh in-country Ocean and Tides Workshop delivered under the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac). The next workshop will be held in Samoa in May 2018. Since its inception in 2012, COSPPac has worked to build the capacity of Pacific Island Meteorological Services and other relevant agencies to understand and apply climate, ocean and sea level information for the benefit of island governments and communities. The Programme is implemented in partnership by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, SPC, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

 

Media contacts:

Evlyn Mani, Capacity Development & Communications Officer, E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or T: +679 3249 222

 

Newsflash

Nukualofa, Friday 16 March 2012: How exactly will climate change impact the lives of people living on small islands and what can be done to adapt to those impacts? On Lifuka Island in Tonga’s Ha’apai group, a project to find answers to this question is underway. The answer could help people around the Pacific and the world prepare  for, and adapt to, climate change.

The project is part of the Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program (PASAP) and aims to assess the vulnerability and adaptation to sea level rise in Lifuka. It is being run by the Government of Tonga with the assistance of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Tonga Community Development Trust (TCDT).

Fuka Kitekei’aho, National Coordinator for PASAP, said that Lifuka was chosen because it had already experienced sea level rise as a result of an earthquake in May 2006.

“The earthquake measured approximately 7.9 on the Richter scale and resulted in subsidence of 23 cm of the western side of Lifuka Island,” Mr Kitekei’aho said. “In the past four years, the island has experienced significant coastal erosion over a three kilometre section of the coastline, including where the harbour, homes, and hospital are located.”