A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
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Thursday, August 26, 2004
Posted 7:42 PM by Luigi
El Nino warning for PNG
Authorities say weather patterns point to repeat of 1997 dry season
By CLEMENT KAUPA
Papua New Guinea could face another 1997 size El Nino weather phenomenon if developing weather conditions over the Pacific basin holds course over the next couple of months.The National Weather Office attributed this to significant alterations to global climatic conditions due to a shift of warm surface water from around PNG to the Eastern Pacific Rim. The National Disaster and Emergency Office (NDES) also confirmed yesterday that they are aware of this development and will closely monitor the situation.
“There is a likelihood that El Nino could occur in the next couple of months and we (NDES) must warn the people of the likely effects,” Brian Mattner, the Operations Advisor with NDES said. The Weather Office’s principle climatologist Samuel Maiha related the abnormal weather conditions experienced in the country recently involving unprecedented heavy rains in certain parts of PNG including Port Moresby (456.2 mm), cold temperatures throughout the nation and devastating winds in the New Guinea Islands to this weather development.
In the 1997 El Nino, the whole of PNG experienced extreme dry conditions which affected the entire pattern of plant and animal, including human lives in the nation for a full year. Currently, some parts of the country are already experiencing severe dry conditions and they may continue to do so over the next three months of September, October and November, he said.
The Western province, through its Fly Provincial Government, had already been issued a warning to conserve water and be prepared for the extreme dry conditions over the next three months.The Weather Office reported on Tuesday that the Fly River level has dropped to a record low 2 meters in certain places due to the dry weather. And according to rainfall statistics provided by Mr Maiha, the province’s capital - Kuinga had already gone below normal- hitting the “driest 30% mark”.
Major business houses in Kiunga and Tabubil are running out of stock for basic goods and services because of the low water level.
“Nothing can grow there now,” Mr Maiha said yesterday, adding that the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) had also been advised to warn people to be prepared for the dry spell. Weather Bureaus in other Southern Region provinces have also reported severe dry weather conditions.
Parts of the Highlands are also into dry weather. A senior public servant arriving yesterday from the Chimbu province said the two major rivers in the province, Wara Simbu and Whagi River, “have dried up”.
The Weather Office’s general rainfall forecast for August through to November this year further confirms the likely onset of El Nino.
According to their forecasts, the Western, Central and Milne Bay provinces will register below normal conditions with the Highlands and much of mainland PNG, New Britain, Manus and New Ireland below average.
The Highlands region is also warned of moderate to high frost risk within the coming four months.
Bougainville alone is forecasted to experience normal rainfall and weather conditions due to its proximity to the Eastern Pacific Rim.
For December to January 2005, the office forecasts possible risk of either delayed or suppressed onset of the Monsoon Rains for the south coasts of PNG, which includes Central, Milne Bay, Western and Gulf provinces but projected normal rainfall for the Highlands.
“It is too early yet to predict any continuation of these anticipated dry conditions beyond March 2005 but it may be wise for farming communities in rural areas to switch to alternative crops with a shorter Maturing Period,” Mr Maiha advices.The office will continue to carefully monitor the situation for any further developments. Meantime, Mr Maiha said the rest of the world is experiencing abnormal climatic conditions as well, including heavy rains and flooding in Europe because of the changes here in the Pacific. Mr Maiha said PNG sits in the middle of an area considered as the “engine-room” of global climate and any climatic alterations here affects the whole global weather pattern.
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