Development and Implementation of Historical and Current Climate Mapping for Vanuatu
10-17, 14:05– (Pacific/Auckland), Plenary

This presentation showcases collaborative efforts between the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and NIWA to enhance climate services in Vanuatu. The project includes spatial mapping of historical climate data and the development of operational climate maps to support weather and climate resilience in Vanuatu.

The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) is working to develop new procedures and capability to enhance operational climate monitoring, reporting and services to build weather and climate resilience in Vanuatu. In collaboration with NIWA, VMGD has undertaken a project to create spatial maps of historical climate data in Vanuatu and develop operational climate anomaly maps from recently observed rainfall and air temperature data. This project aims to strengthen the capability of the VMGD climate staff to interpret and generate maps based on rainfall and air temperature observations.

The outcomes of this project include the creation of an atlas of maps of the past climate for Vanuatu. Within this atlas, monthly and seasonal maps illustrate the historical long-term average rainfall and air temperature for Vanuatu, specifically highlighting the different phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Moreover, a suite of operational climate maps has been generated, describing temperature and rainfall patterns for the past 30, 60, 90, 180 and 360 days in Vanuatu.

To ensure accessibility, these map products have been integrated into NIWA's Climate Data for the Environment Services Client (CliDEsc) system installed in Vanuatu, facilitating easy availability for VMGD staff.

Python open-source geospatial technology has been used extensively in this project including the use of gdal, geopandas, xarray, scipy, cartopy and rasterio.

James is a key member of the Climate Applications research team at NIWA with a focus on data transformation, integration, analysis, and interpretation. A key function of his role is to support climate research and commercial services by creating climate-based data products, and to develop ways of combining these with other relevant environmental and infrastructure information to build powerful applications that meet the needs of local and international clients and stakeholders. As a qualified geospatial specialist with over 16 years’ experience in spatial science and solution development James has made significant contributions to many multi-disciplinary scientific, environmental, and engineering projects throughout New Zealand, Australia and in the Pacific Islands.