WELCOME TO OHAI TONGA
OHAI Tonga is a non-governmental organization dedicated to addressing climate change in Tonga and the Pacific. Our projects focus on advancing knowledge about the impact of climate change in Tonga and the Pacific Ocean, promoting food security, working with youth groups to address climate change related issues, responding to natural disasters, and celebrating Tonga's treasured culture and art.
We invite you to join us. Together, we can make a difference. Malo 'aupito (Thank you).
A message from Uili Lousi, President, OHAI
Climate Change in Tonga and the South Pacific
Tonga is a beautiful Polynesian nation in the South Pacific with a population of approximately 108,000 people. "Climate change is altering environmental conditions in the Kingdom of Tonga and other small island developing states in the Pacific Ocean. Oceans retain much of the heat reflected back to Earth, and warming ocean temperatures cause water to expand, which raises sea level. Some small island states, especially those on atoll islands, may need to relocate as a result of land loss due to the increase in sea level (Nurse et al. 2014). Ocean acidification increases with warming waters and threatens marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and marine fisheries (Laffoley and Baxter 2016)."
"Warm ocean water also provides the fuel for cyclones, and in recent years, warmer waters have increased the magnitude of cyclones. As the strength of these storms surpasses the current classification system, the need for a new category 6 cyclone is being considered (Masters 2019). Stronger storms have significantly greater potential to threaten lives, create extensive property damage, and damage food crops (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2013; Pacific Climate Change Science Program 2016). Air temperature is increasing and precipitation patterns are becoming more unpredictable. Small island developing states contribute less than 1% of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, yet they experience a disproportionate degree of negative consequences as a result of climate change (United Nations Development Programme 2017)."
"In Tonga, air temperature has increased 0.10 °C in the capital of Nuku‘Alofa during each of the past seven decades, and rainfall has decreased. Sea level has risen by 6 mm in Tonga, or nearly double the global average, in the past 25 years. At the September 2018 meeting of the United Nations, King Tupou VI of the Kingdom of Tonga underscored the challenges: “Climate change continues to pose significant security threats to us as island States,” and he stressed “the devastating impacts of climate change on our marine environment” (United Nations News 2018)."
Excerpt from David N. Sattler, Uili Lousi, James M. Graham, Viliami Latu, James Johnson, & Siosaia Langitoto Helu (2020). Climate change in Tonga: Risk perception and behavioral adaptation. In W. Leal Filho (Ed.), Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific. Berlin: Springer.
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