Vanuatu continues to show innovation in the face of natural disasters with the launching of the country’s first Ocean Monitoring Network this afternoon. The network, which consists of six new wave buoys, was officially launched by the Minister of Climate Change, Ralph Regenvanu.

“Today’s launch is very timely following the aftermath of the twin cyclones that impacted our nation. Severe Tropical Cyclone Judy and Tropical Cyclone Kevin were both unprecedented events – not only their occurrence a day apart, but their intensity,” Regenvanu said.

“The impact of climate change is real, and predictions by leading climate scientists say that extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, droughts, sea level rise, and ocean acidification will only become more severe and more destructive in the future,” he added.

“To respond to these events, we need good scientific data, observations, and science to underpin planning, decision making, and policies to support resilient development.”

Six Sofar Spotter wave buoys have been deployed inside Vanuatu’s Exclusive Economic Zones in Port Vila, Million Dollar Point in Santo, Hogs Harbour, Lonnoc Beach in Santo, Port Resolution in Tanna, Mystery Island in Aneityum, and Toman Island in Malekula.

The buoys are designed to measure sea surface temperature, wave direction and height, wave period or spread, as well as wind speed at each location and direction. The data collected from the newly installed buoys will complement the Tide Gauge and Sea Level monitoring infrastructure already in place.

Director of VMGDMontine Romone, stated, “Through these buoys, we will be able to inform our mariners, fishermen, and members of the community of the conditions such as changing sea level, currents, and oceanic temperature. It can also help inform the local communities on how to keep the ocean clean from pollution as that contributes to ocean acidification.

The Ocean Monitoring Network is a partnership between the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) in collaboration with the Vanuatu Fisheries Department, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment (SPREP) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations (CSIRO).

The buoys were procured through the Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (VanKIRAP) project, funded by the Green Climate Fund and executed by SPREP and VMGD.

Acting Manager of SPREP’s Project Coordination Unit, Mr Rupeni Mario, congratulated the VanKIRAP team, VMGD and the government and people of Vanuatu on this milestone achievement, which is a result of effective partnerships and collaboration.

“This is one of many initiatives that Vanuatu has achieved through the VanKIRAP project, and there will surely be more to come,” he said.

“Vanuatu is setting the pace in the region, showcasing how climate information systems can be mainstreamed into all the major sectors through partnerships, teamwork, and high-level support,” he added.

The Vanuatu Klaemet Infomesen blong Redy, Adapt mo Protekt (Van-KIRAP) project is a five-year, USD 22 million project which aims to support climate resilient development in Vanuatu through the development, communication, and application of climate information services to benefit agriculture, fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, waste sectors and communities. It is funded by the Green Climate Fund and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in partnership with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and APEC Climate Centre.