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Bert G. Heusinkveld, Simon M. Berkowicz, Adrie F. G. Jacobs, Albert A. M. Holtslag, and Willy C. A. M. Hillen


The development of a simple and low-cost portable weighing microlysimeter that makes use of a load cell for automated recording and for studying daily dew formation, rate of accumulation, and subsequent evaporation in arid or semiarid regions during rainless seasons is presented. The sampling cup is 3.5 cm deep, with the load cell itself situated at 20-cm depth to minimize temperature effects. The device was tested in a sand dune experimental station situated near Nizzana, northwest Negev Desert, Israel, during which extensive micrometeorological measurements were collected. One microlysimeter was placed in a playa and a second was installed on the stabilized midslope of an adjacent linear sand dune. To assess the performance of the load cell microlysimeters (LCM), one pair of manual microlysimeters was installed next to each LCM. A third pair was installed at a point between the LCMs and a fourth pair above the midslope LCM. Sixteen overnight measurements were carried out within a 6-week period. The LCM could measure dew with an error of ±0.02 mm. The daily dew variation in the samples during the 16 overnight measurements ranged up to 0.2 mm on stable dune slopes but up to 0.4 mm on the playa. This difference is attributed to the playa’s high silt and clay content and salinity. Dew formation and accumulation were found to occur long before the soil-surface temperature reached the dewpoint temperature of the air. The cost of building this microlysimeter, excluding labor, is about $175 (U.S.).

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Lynda E. Chambers, Roan D. Plotz, Siosinamele Lui, Faapisa Aiono, Tile Tofaeono, David Hiriasia, Lloyd Tahani, ‘Ofa Fa’anunu, Seluvaia Finaulahi, and Albert Willy


Traditional calendars document seasonal cycles and the communities’ relationships to their biophysical environment and are often used by communities, particularly subsistence farmers, to synchronize their livelihood activities with the timing of ecological processes. Because the timing of these ecological processes is not always consistent from year to year, the use of traditional seasonal calendars can help communities to cope with climate variability, particularly when biophysical phenomena become less predictable in relation to the Gregorian calendar, as has been observed in relation to climate change. Although the structure and content of seasonal calendars vary across the Pacific Ocean region, for many indigenous communities, knowledge of seasonal calendars can increase their capacity to cope with climate variability and change. To increase the effectiveness of their products and enhance their relevance to and uptake by the community, several Pacific meteorological services are now using traditional seasonal calendars in their climate communication and education, including in forecasts and warnings. The use of a participatory approach resulted in strong relationships and improved dialogues. Local communities appreciated assistance in enabling their knowledge to become available to future generations, and its inclusion in meteorological service products makes these products more accessible and relevant to community members.

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Philip Malsale, Noel Sanau, Tile I. Tofaeono, Zarn Kavisi, Albert Willy, Rossy Mitiepo, Siosinamele Lui, Lynda E. Chambers, and Roan D. Plotz


Traditional knowledge (TK) on weather and climate is an important aspect of community life in the Pacific. Used for generations, this knowledge is derived from observing biological and meteorological variables and contributes to building community resilience to weather extremes. Most of this knowledge is passed on orally and is in danger of being lost due to generational changes, leading communities to seek to preserve the knowledge in other ways.

This paper provides guidance on the successful collection and documentation of weather and climate TK in the Pacific by considering four key components: the legal and national context, in-country partnerships, the role of community, and national and community protocols. At the regional level legislation focuses on the protection of culture/TK and intellectual property, which are linked to national policies and laws. Within the national context consideration of the governance structure is critical, including obtaining approvals to conduct the studies. The next consideration is developing partnerships to establish and implement the projects, including working with appropriate ministries, media, donor organizations, and community groups. Community involvement in all aspects of the projects is critical, built on trust between partners and ensuring outputs are aligned with community needs. Following community protocols and procedures allows for effective sharing of TK. We document common protocols that were piloted and tested across four Pacific Island nations, illustrating similarities and differences between cultural groups, including recognizing cultural sensitivities and ensuring custodian rights are protected.

Open access