Country

Solomon Islands

Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Solomon Islands.

Vulnerability

Climate-related hazards in the Solomon Islands include tropical cyclones, flash floods, droughts, sea level rise, and extreme events related to increasing sea surface temperatures. Tropical cyclones are perhaps the most devastating natural disasters, both because of the loss of human life and the large economic losses they cause across the Pacific. All of these hazards, however, can pose serious constraints on development in small islands, which are often viewed as being in “constant recovery mode”. 

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.

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Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals. 

This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.

 
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Key Vulnerabilities

  • The Solomon Islands generally experience two tropical cyclones per year, with the southern and eastern provinces especially vulnerable. 
  • Cyclone season in the Solomon Islands extends from December to February and is driven by monsoonal rainfall and increased sea surface temperatures.
  • The Solomon Islands experience drought episodes during the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation.
  • Floods in the Solomon Islands are primarily caused by extreme rainfall events hitting steep and small catchments. Floods are particularly damaging in the southern islands of Guadalcanal, Makira, and Malaita.

More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.

  • Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of cyclones and salt-water intrusion. Cyclones can damage agriculture through intense winds and flooding, as in 1986, when cyclone Nanu significantly affected the country’s palm oil and rice production. Coastal erosion and increased intensity of storm surges could impact agricultural productivity across the low-lying areas of the country.
  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that water crises during El Niño-driven droughts are becoming increasingly common on smaller and more remote atolls such as the South Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Western province, which have limited freshwater lenses and rainwater-harvesting capacity, and high costs to serve from the central government.
  • Mangrove degradation, as well as loss of seagrass beds and coral bleaching, has occurred in many parts of the Solomon Islands’ archipelago. A major impact of this has been the measured decrease in fish stocks and the elimination of natural protective barriers from storm surges. Furthermore, tuna, an important economic resource for the Solomon Islands, are known for their sensitivity to changing sea surface temperatures.
  • The Solomon Islands’ public health sector is vulnerable to climate variability and change, particularly with regard to the increased incidences of nutritional deficiencies due to lower crop yields and diarrheal and vector-borne diseases. Limited information is available on the extent and frequency of any health issues, but anecdotal evidence on reduced water quality and warmer temperatures point to a potentially deteriorating condition in the health sector under a changing climate.