Overall risks from climate-related impacts are evaluated based on the interaction of climate-related hazards (including hazardous events and trends) with the vulnerability of communities (susceptibility to harm and lack of capacity to adapt), and exposure of human and natural systems. Changes in both the climate system and socioeconomic processes -including adaptation and mitigation actions- are drivers of hazards, exposure, and vulnerability (IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014).
Climate-related hazards in Timor-Leste include floods, drought, cyclones, and earthquakes. Although these hazards are of natural occurrence, they are likely to increase in frequency and magnitude in a changing climate and cause serious challenges to the economic development of Timor-Leste.
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.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
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.
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.
- Seasonal monsoon rains, strong winds, and cyclones in Timor-Leste regularly damage and destroy homes, particularly in the rural areas. The country is affected by two sets of monsoonal conditions: the Northwest or wet monsoon that brings storms and flooding and the Southeast or dry monsoon that brings strong winds to the south of the island. The island of Timor is also greatly influenced by La Niña and El Niño climate events, with La Niña shortening the dry season to 1 to 2 months only.
- Drought conditions affect many parts of the country, especially during El Niño. Timor-Leste experiences agricultural and hydrological droughts once every four years. The country’s hillsides are regularly hit with droughts due to unreliable rains during the wet season from November to May. This condition is exacerbated by deforestation and wild fires.
- Timor-Leste’s location in a high seismic activity area exposes it to earthquakes and tsunamis. Earthquakes are common and tend to cause significant damage; where slopes are unstable, earthquakes can trigger extensive landslides.
- Cyclones occasionally develop in the Banda, Arafura, Timor and Sawu seas, especially during April and May and move in a south-westerly direction. The tropical cyclone mean occurrence over the Timor-Leste region is around 0.2 per year.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- Increase in rainfall intensity may lead to increase in flood occurrence in new areas.
- Increase in floods may lead to extensive damage to existing water infrastructures and roads.
- Increase in flood and drought occurrence will lead to exacerbation of current food security problems.
- As a consequence of increased precipitation and extreme events, increase in landslides, wild fires, and deforestation will occur.
- Increased rain variability and drought occurrence will lead to extended incidence of pest and crop diseases, as well as vector-borne diseases and increase in coastal vulnerability.