Abstract

In this paper we characterize the climate at Nadi and Suva in Fiji from 1961 to the present, providing a picture of ongoing climate trends. The focus is on surface observations of air temperature and rainfall, although some information on South Pacific Ocean climate is also discussed, given its relevance for Fiji. Our findings suggest that surface air temperatures have registered increasing trends at both Suva and Nadi (the two observatory sites in Fiji identified as Weather Observing Stations under the global network of the World Meteorological Organization) during the period 1961-2003. There has been a steady increase in the number of days per year with warmer nighttime temperatures in recent decades. The rise in annual mean surface air temperature over Suva was ∼1.2 °C over the 43-yr period considered here (at a significantly increasing rate of 0.25 °C per decade, which is 1.5 times higher than the trends in global average temperature increase during the past century). The rate of increase in annual mean surface air temperature at Nadi was 0.07 °C per decade. No trend in annual mean rainfall has been observed, however, at either of the locations. Significant interannual variability in annual as well as summer rainfall observed at both sites (including extreme rainfall events during the 43-yr period) can largely be attributed to El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events and intraseasonal oscillations in the mean position of the South Pacific Convergence Zone.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-6188
Print ISSN
0030-8870
Pages
pp. 49-68
Launched on MUSE
2005-11-21
Open Access
No
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