Pacific Climate Change Science Program

The Pacific Climate Change Science Program (PCCSP, $20 million, 2008-2011) made a fundamental improvement to the understanding of how the climate may change for Pacific island countries and East Timor in the future.  Activities under the science program included tracking climate trends, investigating regional climate drivers, providing country climate projections and improving understanding of ocean processes, ocean acidification and sea level rise.

An inhabited low-lying stretch of island in Kiribati.

An inhabited low-lying stretch of island in Kiribati.

Activities and achievements of the science program

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report presented only broad-scale projections for the Pacific region.  The science program built upon this base by providing more detailed projections, including at country-level.  The program also made this science accessible to decision makers through web-based tools and brochures in local languages, and increased research capacity in partner countries.

By working together with partner countries and regional organisations, the science program developed regional climate science capacity and helped to foster a cooperative research network between Australian and Pacific universities and organisations.

Specific achievements included:

  • The report Climate Change and the Pacific: Scientific Assessment and New Research, provides the first country-scale climate projections for Pacific nations.  The two volumes of the report addressed a significant knowledge gap and provide an invaluable reference for climate scientists, communities and decision-makers in the region as they plan for the future.
  • The program developed web-based tools  to make climate science data more accessible to decision makers.  Representatives of Pacific country meteorological services were provided training in how to use the web tools, which aided their ability to use climate change projections in their professional roles.
  • Summary brochures for 15 Pacific island countries outlining their key climate change projections were developed.  The brochures have also been published in local languages to make this information more accessible within Pacific communities.

The Pacific Climate Change Science Program website  contains more information about the program’s activities.

Who was involved?

There were 15 partner countries involved in the science program:

Map showing Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning program partner countries
  • Cook Islands
  • East Timor
  • Fiji
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Activities were delivered by the Bureau of Meteorology  and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) .

The science program worked in close cooperation with the national meteorological services of partner countries and regional institutions including:

The funding for the science program finished in 2011.  The objectives and some activities continue to be built upon under the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning program.