Seasonal, extremes and wave climate variability of the Southwest of Efate Island, Vanuatu

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Faivre, G
Vieira da Silva, G
Ware, D
Tomlinson, R
Mackey, B
Zhang, H
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Hobart, Australia


Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are vulnerable to climate change and development pressure due to their small size, isolation, limited resources, susceptibility to natural hazards, excessive dependence on international trade and fragile natural environments. The population and infrastructure of pacific SIDS are concentrated within coastal areas and have limited access to the resources necessary to develop resilience to the potential rising incidence of natural disasters such as cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes. The aim of this paper is to inform the development of resilience to natural hazards through an assessment of the wave climate and do a first assessment of flooding under extreme wave events in two key places, Mele Bay and Erakor Lagoon on Efate Island, Vanuatu. This approach to wave climate assessment highlights the possibilities for improving the knowledge base for developing resilience to natural hazards despite the data availability constraints typical of SIDS. Typical approaches would make use of wave buoys however as this is not available use has been made of a regional wave hindcast models. The gridded wave model WAVEWATCH III (WW3) is used in this paper to understand the wave climate in Vanuatu using data from 1979 to 2018. The last forty years of the dataset is analysed and decadal and seasonal trends are given for the significant wave height, the period, the direction and the wave energy. The extreme wave events are defined using the Peaks-Over-Threshold Method. Wave return periods are calculated with three different distributions (Weibull, Gumbel and Log-Normal models). The distribution models are compared in terms of inundation. The variation of wave climate is then discussed as well as the impacts to the shoreline. Potential relationship between climate variability such as El Niño/La Niña events and the wave climate variations is also investigated for future scenarios of impact assessment. This paper is an important contribution to a first pass coastal hazard assessment for Mele Bay and Erakor island which is important for coastal planning and to build resilience to extreme events and to future climate change scenarios.

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Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019 Conference: Future directions from 40°S and beyond

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© The Author(s) 2019. The attached file is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. For information about this conference please refer to the conference’s website or contact the author(s).

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Maritime engineering

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Faivre, G; Vieira da Silva, G; Ware, D; Tomlinson, R; Mackey, B; Zhang, H, Seasonal, extremes and wave climate variability of the Southwest of Efate Island, Vanuatu, Australasian Coasts and Ports 2019 Conference: Future directions from 40°S and beyond, 2019, pp. 381-387