9 Jul 2009

Climate expert gives bleak forecast for Pacific

5:54 pm on 9 July 2009

A New Zealand climate expert has issued a bleak forecast on the impact of climate change in the Pacific.

The manager of Pacific Activities at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Doug Ramsay, says the impact will come from extreme weather events, such as cyclones and drought, and will be exarcerbated by the rising level and temperature of the sea.

He says this will affect the viability of some communities in the region.

"Food security, water resources will become much more harder to sustain, particularly if temperatures increase beyond one, two degrees centigrade. So if we're getting up to some of the more higher projections by the end of the century it will become increasingly difficult for Pacific island communities to maintain a viable population there."

Doug Ramsay says atoll communities are most at risk and it will be up to individual communties and people to judge whether to stay or leave.