Table 1

Qualitative future changes in drought, flood and tropical cyclone risk predicted for Pacific Island nations

CountryPopulationDescriptionFuture change in drought riskFuture change in average rainfallFuture change in tropical cyclone risk
Cook Islands 15,000 15 dispersed islands, low coral atolls to the north and volcanic islands to the south Slight increase in the north and decrease in the south under a very high emissions scenarioa Little change, possible decrease in dry season in the northb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
FSM 105,000 Over 600 islands ranging from mountainous volcanic islands to low coral atolls Decreasea Increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Fiji 887,000 2 large and over 300 smaller volcanic islands Slight decreasea No consensus, with model results spanning moderate decreases to large increasesc Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
French Polynesia 277,000 Over 100 islands with mixed terrain No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found 
Guam 173,000 One volcanic island (544 km2Uncertain, but may increase if El Niño events become more intensed Moderate increasee Less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones, track location may move polewarde,f 
Kiribati 115,000 34 widely dispersed, mostly low coral islands Overall slight decrease, but increased duration of extreme droughts under a very high emissions scenario for the Line Islandsa Increaseb No country-specific projections found 
Marshall Islands 55,000 34 small, low-lying islands Decreasea Increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Nauru 11,000 One small raised coral atoll (21 km2Overall decrease, but frequency of mild droughts may increase slightly under a very low emissions scenarioa Probable increase, with models spanning slight decrease to very large increasec No country-specific projections found 
New Caledonia 272,000 One large and five smaller islands with varying geography No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found 
Niue 2,000 One raised coral atoll (269 km2Decrease under a very high emissions scenarioa No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Northern Mariana Islands 56,000 14 small islands, volcanic to the north and limestone to the south No country-specific projections found, but outlook for (nearby) Guam is uncertaind No country-specific projections found, but moderate increase projected for Guame No country-specific projections found, but less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones projected for Guam, track location may move polewarde,f 
Palau 18,000 8 large and >300 smaller islands, ranging from high volcanic to low coral islands Decreasea Increase, especially in the wet seasonb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
PNG 8,559,000 >150 mostly mountainous islands, includes eastern half of New Guinea Overall decrease, but frequency of mild droughts may increase slightly under a very low emissions scenarioa Increase in most areasb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Samoa (and American Samoa) 253,000 2 main and 20 smaller islands (Samoa), 1 main and 6 smaller islands (American Samoa), volcanic archipelago Slight decreasea Little change projected by most models although some show moderate increases/decreasesc Less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones under moderate emissions scenarios but less frequent strong cyclones under high emissions scenariof 
Solomon Islands 681,000 Archipelago with around 900 volcanic islands and small atolls Decreasea Slight increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Tokelau 2,000 Three small, low-lying coral atolls No country-specific projections found, but slight decrease projected for nearby countriesa No country-specific projections found, no consensus for nearby countriesb,c No country-specific projections found but decreased frequency and increased average intensity projected for nearby countriesa 
Tonga 100,000 169 islands, volcanic to the west and mostly low coral limestone to the east Slight decreasea No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Tuvalu 10,000 Three reef islands and six atolls, low-lying Decreasea No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Vanuatu 282,000 Over 80 islands of volcanic origin Slight decreasea No consensus, ensemble mean close to zero but some individual models predict moderate increases/decreasesc Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Wallis and Futuna 12,000 Two main volcanic islands No country-specific projections found, but slight decrease projected for nearby countriesa No country-specific projections found, no consensus for nearby countriesb,c No country-specific projections found but decreased frequency and increased average intensity projected for nearby countriesa 
CountryPopulationDescriptionFuture change in drought riskFuture change in average rainfallFuture change in tropical cyclone risk
Cook Islands 15,000 15 dispersed islands, low coral atolls to the north and volcanic islands to the south Slight increase in the north and decrease in the south under a very high emissions scenarioa Little change, possible decrease in dry season in the northb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
FSM 105,000 Over 600 islands ranging from mountainous volcanic islands to low coral atolls Decreasea Increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Fiji 887,000 2 large and over 300 smaller volcanic islands Slight decreasea No consensus, with model results spanning moderate decreases to large increasesc Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
French Polynesia 277,000 Over 100 islands with mixed terrain No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found 
Guam 173,000 One volcanic island (544 km2Uncertain, but may increase if El Niño events become more intensed Moderate increasee Less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones, track location may move polewarde,f 
Kiribati 115,000 34 widely dispersed, mostly low coral islands Overall slight decrease, but increased duration of extreme droughts under a very high emissions scenario for the Line Islandsa Increaseb No country-specific projections found 
Marshall Islands 55,000 34 small, low-lying islands Decreasea Increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Nauru 11,000 One small raised coral atoll (21 km2Overall decrease, but frequency of mild droughts may increase slightly under a very low emissions scenarioa Probable increase, with models spanning slight decrease to very large increasec No country-specific projections found 
New Caledonia 272,000 One large and five smaller islands with varying geography No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found No country-specific projections found 
Niue 2,000 One raised coral atoll (269 km2Decrease under a very high emissions scenarioa No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Northern Mariana Islands 56,000 14 small islands, volcanic to the north and limestone to the south No country-specific projections found, but outlook for (nearby) Guam is uncertaind No country-specific projections found, but moderate increase projected for Guame No country-specific projections found, but less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones projected for Guam, track location may move polewarde,f 
Palau 18,000 8 large and >300 smaller islands, ranging from high volcanic to low coral islands Decreasea Increase, especially in the wet seasonb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
PNG 8,559,000 >150 mostly mountainous islands, includes eastern half of New Guinea Overall decrease, but frequency of mild droughts may increase slightly under a very low emissions scenarioa Increase in most areasb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Samoa (and American Samoa) 253,000 2 main and 20 smaller islands (Samoa), 1 main and 6 smaller islands (American Samoa), volcanic archipelago Slight decreasea Little change projected by most models although some show moderate increases/decreasesc Less frequent weak cyclones and more frequent strong cyclones under moderate emissions scenarios but less frequent strong cyclones under high emissions scenariof 
Solomon Islands 681,000 Archipelago with around 900 volcanic islands and small atolls Decreasea Slight increaseb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Tokelau 2,000 Three small, low-lying coral atolls No country-specific projections found, but slight decrease projected for nearby countriesa No country-specific projections found, no consensus for nearby countriesb,c No country-specific projections found but decreased frequency and increased average intensity projected for nearby countriesa 
Tonga 100,000 169 islands, volcanic to the west and mostly low coral limestone to the east Slight decreasea No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Tuvalu 10,000 Three reef islands and six atolls, low-lying Decreasea No consensusb Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Vanuatu 282,000 Over 80 islands of volcanic origin Slight decreasea No consensus, ensemble mean close to zero but some individual models predict moderate increases/decreasesc Decreased frequency but increased average intensitya,b 
Wallis and Futuna 12,000 Two main volcanic islands No country-specific projections found, but slight decrease projected for nearby countriesa No country-specific projections found, no consensus for nearby countriesb,c No country-specific projections found but decreased frequency and increased average intensity projected for nearby countriesa 

aAustralian Bureau of Meteorology & CSIRO (2014).

bCSIRO et al. (2015).

cEvans et al. (2016).

dPREL (2014).

eKeener et al. (2015).

fWang (2016).

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