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Sea warming faster in Papua New Guinea

Sea warming faster in Papua New Guinea

Anisah Issimel

photo by: pbaitor

Papua New Guinea has experienced some of the fastest rates of sea level rise anywhere around the globe in the past twenty years.

Situated on the Western Pacific Ocean, the region has experienced fifteen centimetres of sea level rise since the early 1990’s.

Climate Change experts from the Intergovernmental Climate Change Panel in Australia revealed the rate of sea level rise in the country is three times faster than the average over the rest of the oceans.

This revelation was made recently by the experts whilst answering questions raised by the NBC reporter attending a training workshop on Climate Change Reporting for journalists from the Asia Pacific regions.

Questions raised include how much detriment sea level rise would be having on low lying areas in Papua New Guinea in the next twenty years.

The experts say it is important to understand why the increase in sea level rise in the region is much faster than the rest of the oceans.

They also explained that there are some well- known natural cycles in the tropical Pacific that may cause extra warming and faster sea level rise.

But scientists say they still do not know whether the recent rise in sea level is driven or caused by global warming, in which case it may continue, or whether it is part of a natural cycle, in which case further dramatic rise could be delayed.

However, what they can say now is that something between three and fifteen centimetres of further sea level rise seems likely in the western tropical Pacific in the next ten years.

And in the long run, the range is much bigger, between 30 centimetres and 2 meters by the year 2100.

Scientists also say that it is very difficult for societies to make decisions about how to prepare for sea level rise when the range of possibilities is so large.

They further explained that natural cycles in the oceans may cause temporary declines in the future and this may last several years or even decades, although it is highly unlikely that levels will again be as low as they were in the first half of the 20th century.

They say that sea level rising and for all practical purposes, these changes cannot be reversed.

PNG village built sea wall

One of many PNG maritime villages facing threats of sea level rise. Pic by: Sven Rudolf Jan

by Anisah Issimel, NBC News, PNG 

A rural village on the northern maritime province of Madang in Papua New Guinea has embarked on a small project to build a sea wall in a bid to save its shorelines from constant sea battering.

Riwo Village, with a population of just over two thousand people, has lost a large portion of its shoreline in the last five years to sea weathering and the rising sea level.

The idea to build the sea wall was an initiative of the local village leaders in light of the ongoing effects of climate change.

The leaders had initially raised the idea with their provincial governor, James Gau, requesting financial assistance to build the wall, and so far had recieved 100 thousand kina from the PNG Government to help them.

The villagers had since completed part of the wall but will need further financial assistance to complete the entire project.

Anisah Issimel


Hi, am Anisah Issimel from Papua New Guinea.

I work with the state radio, the National Broadcasting Corporation of Papua New Guinea, as a journalist.

I had worked with the radio for more than 11 years. I love working with the radio, but I also report for the National Television, KUNDU 2, which is also owned by the PNG Government.

I am currenty in Melbourne, Australia, attending a five- weeks training on “Reporting Climate Change”.

The training is organised by the Asia- Pacific Journalism Center (APJC).