Adaptation to Climate Change: SimCLIM Model Released for the Kingdom of Tonga

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A customised version of the SimCLIM software system was recently released Tonga. A one week workshop bringing together key government departments and representatives of the non-governmental sector was conducted to coincide with the release of the software package. The model is being used to complete the country's Second National Communication regarding climate change and adaptation and to prepare climate change adaptation project documents.

the information collected from the TongaSimCLIM can be consolidated for planning purposes, securing funds for future proposals and public awareness.

A week-long workshop was just completed in the Kingdom of Tonga on climate change vulnerability and risk assessment. The Kingdom, as part of its UNFCCC obligations, is required to complete its Second National Communication on risks and vulnerabilities to climate change and plans for adapting. The Communication also includes an assessment of the Kingdom's greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation strategies.

The Kingdom requested the assistance of CLIMsystems Ltd and Global Environmental Management Ltd, both New Zealand-based companies. These companies provided software and services to facilitate the empowerment of the Tongan Government and non-governmental organizations. An important aspect of the workshop was the collaboration with Tongan government agencies for the development of a customized version of CLIMsystem's SimCLIM software tool that is used internationally for climate change vulnerability and risk assessments. A version aptly named TongaSimCLIM was developed with Tongan data, including a high quality digital elevation model and a range of historical climate data. Eight global circulation patterns widely used in the Asia-Pacific region were also preloaded in the software system. Local geographic information was added in the form of shape files. These included, for example, layers for roads, built up areas, land cover, soils, reefs and significant sites.

Linked with the TongaSimCLIM was a customized version of PlantGro. The seamless integration of PlantGro software with TongaSimCLIM provided government agencies and NGOs with the opportunity to explore different cropping and agroforestry options for the island Kingdom in the context of current and future climates.

Through the week workshop participants from the energy, disaster preparedness, agriculture, water, environment, GIS, fisheries, forestry, health, geology and waste sectors of government and NGO community were trained on the use of TongaSimCLIM. They had extensive hands-on experience working with the system and learned how to develop climate and sea level rise scenarios. They also explored historical wind and rainfall data. Inundation and storm surge models were developed for several islands.

The workshop was very well received. One participant noted, "The TongaSimCLIM has the capacity to generate amazing results/outputs for the future after incorporating historical data, GCM's and SRES." Another participant commented that "the information collected from the TongaSimCLIM can be consolidated for planning purposes, securing funds for future proposals and public awareness."

One of the key benefits of the workshop was the bringing together of different Departments of the Kingdom of Tonga and the nation's NGO community with CLIMsystems and Sustainable Environmental Management Ltd. Interaction continues with links developed with the Danish Hydraulic Institute and other relevant institutions in the Pacific region.

The creation of customized SimCLIM models is now progressing with other countries of the region including Vanuatu, Solomon Island and the Federated States of Micronesia. People interested in SimCLIM and other environmental change tools, such as PlantGro, can visit http://www.climsystems.com for details.

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PETER URICH
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