Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Asia-Pacific

Pacific island sea levels rising faster than global average, WMO says

Updated: 2023-08-18 10:24
Share - WeChat
A handout photo taken and received on July 25, 2023 from Allan Marsh/Cheynes Beach Caravan Park, shows scores of pilot whales stranded at Cheynes Beach near Albany in Western Australia. AFP PHOTO / ALLAN MARSH/CHEYNES BEACH CARAVAN PARK [Photo/VCG]

GENEVA - Sea levels in the South-West Pacific are rising faster than the global average, threatening low-lying islands while heat damages marine ecosystems, the UN meteorological agency said on Friday.

In its State of the Climate in the South-West Pacific 2022 report, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said water levels were rising about 4 mm per year in some areas, slightly above the global mean rate.

That means low-lying territory such as Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands over time could become flooded, destroying agricultural and habitable lands with inhabitants unable to move to higher elevations.

The report added that marine heatwaves had occurred in a large area northeast of Australia and south of Papua New Guinea over more than six months, affecting marine life and the livelihoods of local communities.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that El Nino, a warming of water surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean that returned this year, would strongly affect the region.

"This will have a big impact on the South-West Pacific region as it is frequently associated with higher temperatures, disruptive weather patterns and more marine heatwaves and coral bleaching," Taalas said in a statement.

The region last year recorded 35 natural hazards, including floods and storms, that killed more than 700 people, according to the report. These hazards directly affected more than 8 million people.

Although the number of reported disaster weather events in the region decreased last year compared to 2021, the scale of economic losses due to flooding and weather events increased, according to the report.

Flood damage, including in Australia and the Philippines, amounted to $8.5 billion, almost triple the previous year.


Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349