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Australian commitment to Pacific sea level and climate monitoring.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon. Peter Reith, MP Minister for Defence


18 Aug 2001 MIN 310/01

Australian Commitment to Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring


Australia has committed $9.5 million to implement a third phase of the $24 million South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project. This new five-year programme is now underway.

Forum island countries have raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change and sea level rise on the region. Small island states in the Pacific are especially vulnerable to environmental damage to their coastal infrastructure, fresh water resources, agriculture and health. They work hard to protect themselves against normal cyclical storm damage and local environmental degradation.

This project aims to provide better information on long-term trends and their causes. Since 1991, Australia has assisted eleven Pacific island countries to monitor and analyse climate and sea level changes through a sophisticated network of sea level monitoring stations, satellite transmission networks and computer systems. The project has also provided governments and communities throughout the region with the necessary resources, training and information to better understand the links between sea level, climate variability, and their adaptation requirements.

The current third phase of the overall project will enhance the quality of the long-term sea level monitoring and analysis. We aim to introduce land-movement measurement and help improve the capacity of national meteorological services in Pacific Island countries to analyse and interpret project data. An additional monitoring station will be added at Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, bringing the total number of stations to 12. The third phase will also give increased emphasis to monitoring short- and medium-term climate variability and extreme weather events.

The project is managed on Australia’s behalf by the Australian Marine Science and Technology Ltd (AMSAT). It is coordinated by a committee representing the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, the South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission, selected Forum Countries, AusAID and AMSAT.


For further information:

Minister: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

AusAID Fionna Douglas 02 6206 4960 / 0412 804 489


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