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Simon McGree
,
Nicholas Herold
,
Lisa Alexander
,
Sergei Schreider
,
Yuriy Kuleshov
,
Elifaleti Ene
,
Selu Finaulahi
,
Kasis Inape
,
Boyd Mackenzie
,
Hans Malala
,
Arona Ngari
,
Bipendra Prakash
, and
Lloyd Tahani

Abstract

Trends in mean and extreme annual and seasonal temperature and precipitation over the 1951–2015 period were calculated for 57 stations in 20 western Pacific Ocean island countries and territories. The extremes indices are those of the World Meteorological Organization Expert Team on Sector-Specific Climate Indices. The purpose of the expert team and indices is to promote the use of globally consistent climate indices to highlight variability and trends in climate extremes that are of particular interest to socioeconomic sectors and to help to characterize the climate sensitivity of various sectors. Prior to the calculation of the monthly means and indices, the data underwent quality control and homogeneity assessment. A rise in mean temperature occurred at most stations, in all seasons, and in both halves of the study period. The temperature indices also showed strong warming, which for the majority was strongest in December–February and weakest in June–August. The absolute and percentile-based indices show the greatest warming at the upper end of the distribution. While changes in precipitation were less consistent and trends were generally weak at most locations, declines in both total and extreme precipitation were found in southwestern French Polynesia and the southern subtropics. There was a decrease in moderate- to high-intensity precipitation events, especially those experienced over multiple days, in southwestern French Polynesia from December to February. Strong drying trends have also been identified in the low- to moderate-extreme indices in the June–August and September–November periods. These negative trends contributed to an increase in the magnitude of meteorological drought in both subregions.

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