The First National Climate Assessment Pacific Islands Report

In 1997, the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) launched a series of regional workshops, coordinated by local partner institutions, with the goal to examine the vulnerability of U.S. regions to climate variability and change. The first workshop in Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands was convened at the East-West Center in  Honolulu, Hawai‘i in March 1998, following the powerful El Niño of 1997-1998 that brought serious drought to the islands of the North Pacific and high tropical cyclone activity to the region. The workshop jump-started the process to produce a study of climate effects and response options for the Pacific Islands region, as a regional contribution to the First National Climate Assessment.

The Pacific Assessment was coordinated by the East-West Center (in Honolulu, Hawai‘i) in collaboration with scientific partners from the University of Hawai‘i, the University of Guam and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); in addition, it was closely coordinated with related activities supported under the auspices of the SPREP, particularly its Pacific Islands Climate Change Assistance Programme (PICCAP).

The report was developed between Fall 1998 and Spring 2001, when it was made available for review and public comment. The assessment involved review and analysis of published literature, stakeholder focus group discussions, and regional workshops. The report contains a timeline of key events in the assessment process.

Financial support for the Pacific Assessment was provided by NOAA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), with NSF serving as the granting agency. Overall guidance for the Assessment was provided by a Steering Committee, which included representatives of businesses, national governments, resource managers and scientific institutions throughout the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.