The Met Office says it will be at least eight months before Cook Islands will start experiencing cooler than average temperatures, which means more hot and dry weather as currently experienced in the Northern Group.
Following what has been described as the warmest decade, the
Cook Islands Meteorological Service says 2021 could see some of the highest
temperatures on record.
“If we have to go by the last six months for 2020, I’d say
yes,” said Met Service director Arona Ngari, when asked if the trend of
warmer-than-average weather will persist.
“We will be seeing some warmer than usual temperatures for
Rarotonga and the rest of the Cook Islands.”
2011-2020 has been the warmest decade on record with the
warmest six years all being since 2015, according to the World Meteorological
According to a World Meteorological Organization report,
ocean heat is at record levels and more than 80 per cent of the global ocean
experienced a marine heatwave at some point last year.
Heating of the ocean has “widespread repercussions for
marine ecosystems already suffering from more acidic waters due to carbon
dioxide absorption”, according to a WMO report on the State of the Global
Climate in 2020.
Some of those effects are being felt in the Cook Islands,
The Met Service has forecasted a high chance of dry weather
for much of the summer throughout most of the country, along with warmer than
“For this year, we are probably looking at warmer
temperatures for the first four months of the year, which coincides with our
normal summer months and our cyclone season,” Ngari said.
“The threat of a tropical cyclone is still on the cards as
far as the Cook Islands is concerned. Going into the cooler months that
probability will drop.”
For 2021, Ngari said the Cook Islands will be looking at an
average annual temperature of 28 degrees celsius, taking into account the
current La Nina event which has brought in higher than average temperatures
along with drier weather.
There will be a move from La Nina to a neutral phase before
the country head into El Nino, which tends to bring cooler and wetter weather,
“It will be about eight-nine months before we start to see
cooler than average temperatures and if there is a drop over the average,”
According to New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research, 2020 was the country’s seventh warmest year on record.
PHOTO: CI NEWS. 15062426
Some rain but not enough
Drought-stricken Penrhyn experienced rain over the weekend
but nowhere enough to ease their water problem.
Newly-appointed executive officer to Penrhyn, Puna Vano said
the rain experienced on some parts of the island lasted for about 10-15
“The rain water collected was less according to the data,”
The island will receive its first shipment of water from
Rarotonga when MV Taunga Nui arrives in Penrhyn today. The barge left Rarotonga
on Friday, carrying 200,000 litres of water for the island.
“The barge ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the island is
11am,” Vano said.
Apart from 200,000 litres of water, the barge is also
carrying equipment for a desalination plant to convert seawater to fresh water.
Materials to install a ground water gallery on Omoka and
Tetautua and another 170-tonnes of cargo for the cyclone shelter project were
also on the vessel.
Taio Shipping’s Grinna is on standby to transport another
60,000 litres of water to the north if conditions do not improve.
According to the Meteorological Service, Penrhyn is now in ‘meteorological drought’ and dry alerts are in place for Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka and most Southern Cook Islands.