Tokelau EAR watch training workshop
May 10, 2023
Climate Change Resilience

Tokelau is one of the smallest island nations in the world, with a population of less than 2,000 people living in the three main islands of Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu. As a country made up of low-lying coral atolls, Tokelau is vulnerable to extreme changes in rainfall. 

A training workshop held last month introduced the seven staff of the Tokelau Ministry of Environment including the Meteorological Service (TMS) to climatology training, which included drought monitoring and seasonal prediction, specifically for the production of Early Action Rainfall (EAR) Watch bulletin. 

The EAR Watch Bulletin provide an early warning of rainfall extremes, which aids the country and its people in their preparations. It provides early warning for periods of prolonged drought brought by less rainfall, as well as warning against prolonged wet periods, which can result in flooding, outbreak of waterborn diseases, and related impacts to other sectors.

The workshop provided an introduction to Climatology for staff of the TMS, as well as training on drought monitoring and seasonal prediction. A national level EAR Watch bulletin was the output of the workshop, developed by the TMS staff with the technical support of the Bureau of Meteorology and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). 

‘The climate science and EAR Watch training was important to ensure all countries in the Pacific including smaller ones have the capability to explain drivers linking to their climate and at the same time produce their own bulletin, something they own and able to communicate clearly to their stakeholders to better prepare for rainfall extreme events’ said Philip Malsale, SPREP Climatologist 

The training was well-received by the participants, who expressed their gratitude to the team of experts from the Bureau of Meteorology as well as SPREP for organising.

Ms Mile Fonua, Manager of the Environment Division in Tokelau, said, “Being part of this training is an opportunity to develop our skills and capacity as met officers to deliver appropriate and relevant forecast information to our community.”

The workshop was held in Apia from 19-21 April and was organised and conducted by the Climate and Oceans Support Programme in the Pacific (COSPPac) Phase 2 Project, which is funded by the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.

For more information, please contact Mr Philip Malsale at [email protected]