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Nuku’alofa – August 19, 2022: 3.10pm (Nuku’alofa Times/AHC): Australian High Commissioner, HE Rachael Moore, and First Secretary Development, Shelly Thomson, were pleased to meet with the Australian Government funded Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) team who are currently in Nuku’alofa conducting essential maintenance on the Tide and Tsunami Station and Global Navigation Satellite System.

The COSPPac program is in its second phase and supports 15 Pacific Islands to monitor their meteorological data to strengthen our understanding of climate, oceans and disaster resilience. In this second phase, DFT has provided AUD $28.6m worth of funding.

Jeff Aquilina and Brendon Collopy from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), and Poate Degei from the Secretariate Pacific Community (SPC) are in Nuku’alofa, working with Tonga Meteorological Services (Tonga MET), MEIDECC and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to decommission the old tide gauge at Queen Salote Wharf and replace it with a new tide and tsunami station at Vuna Wharf.

The team’s work on the tide and tsunami station will ensure that this technology can continue to provide updated tidal information every minute to Tonga Meteorological Services, Government of Tonga, BOM and the Secretariate of the Pacific Community (SPC). This tidal information is essential to develop the tide charts, track climate changes, and understand what happens during severe weather events and disasters, like the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai tsunami. This information is essential for informing the Tongan Governments coastal infrastructure planning especially during disaster recovery and enables accurate long-term sea level record for the Pacific region.

The tide and tsunami station in Nuku’alofa is one of 14 installed by the Australian Government across the Pacific. The tide station also works in conjunction with the Global Navigation Satellite Systems, located at Vuna Wharf and Apifo’ou College, which tracks seismic movement of the earth to help us track and understand the natural events which impact Tonga.

COSPPac is a partnership between the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Geoscience Australia, the Secretariate of the Pacific Community (SPC), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), who work together with local ministries and counterparts in each country. In Tonga, COSPPac works closely with the Tonga Meteorological Services (Tonga MET), MEIDECC and Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

The Australian Government is pleased to support our Pacific family in tracking and understanding climate and ocean changes in our region so we can best support each other into the future.

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