Monday, 10 November 2008 9:05 AM

Is Honiara Heating Up?

The answer is NO!!!!

Let me just clarify some of the points raised on this topic so as to inform the public.

1. Scorching 32 degrees temperature - This 32 deg maximum temperature is not unusual as the average maximum temperature for Solomon Islands can range between 30 to 32 deg. Munda, for instance have recorded a maximum of 35 degrees early this year however this is a one off situation and it would be too early to attribute it to climate change. Although the temperature trend for most locations in the Solomon Islands is increasing, 32 deg is still normal.

2. Issue of Climate Change & changing weather patterns - Solomon Islands still lacks scientific data to ascertain changing weather patterns at the moment and to be honest; it will be premature for us to conclude that the local weather patterns have changed because of human induced climate change. More research needs to be done on the local weather and climatic patterns. It is important for readers to note that there are two types of climate change-natural and anthropogenic. The fear is under a changed climatic condition, the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as tropical cyclone and flash flood due to heavy rain will be increased.
As to the reason why there is below normal rainfall for the last two months, a possible explanation is the current condition of El Nino/Southern Oscillation - a natural weather phenomena which also cause changes to the climate system and huge socio-economic implications. Situation now is for normal/neutral condition to continue up to April next year. Rainfall in the region is highly influenced by the sea surface temperature (SST) and the current SST analysis is showing cooler but close to normal and this also explains the below normal cloud cover condition across the tropical pacific.

How does all this normal and anomalies relates to the rainfall? Simple......Warmer SST means more evaporation from the ocean, enhanced cloud formation and more rainfall and the opposite can happens if we have cooler or normal SST.

Please, don't misunderstand me. I'm not implying or disputing the issue of climate change in the Solomon Islands as there are some trends (temperature and sea level) which are indicative of a changing climate, not to mention the consensus among most of the world's top climate scientist on the issue of anthropogenic climate change. The point I'm trying to put across here is that not all the changes in the weather or climate is related to human induced/anthropogenic climate change. Some of these changes are natural and we need to be careful when interpreting these information so as not to misinform the public.

Thank you.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Hiba in Honiara and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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