The vulnerability of Tongatapu coastal zone to local impacts of climate and sea level rise related risks
Lao, F. F. T. (2007). The vulnerability of Tongatapu coastal zone to local impacts of climate and sea level rise related risks (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2244
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2244
Tongatapu coastal zone vulnerability assessment study was conducted to examine the degree of current and future risks of projected climate change and sea level rise on the coastal zone of the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga-Tongatapu. Inundation, and flooding hazards generated by tropical cyclone storm surges are the common threats to Tongatapu coastal towns and villages because of their low-lying settings. Flooding problems are exacerbated by the social trends of population growth and migration from the outer islands of the Kingdom, to Tongatapu the main island where the capital town of the Kingdom, Nuku'alofa is located. Other threats include beach erosion, saltwater intrusion, and seawater spraying of coastal vegetations and properties. A survey of the local people of Tongatapu, mapping of vulnerable areas with GIS, and using my local knowledge of the island coastal zone were the three methods were used to conduct this study. The main objective of this research was to assess the vulnerability of the coastal zone of Tongatapu to local impacts of inundation and flooding hazards associated with climate and sea-level rise related risks. The results of the survey indicated that more than 95% of the respondents agreed that the coastal zone of Tongatapu is vulnerable to inundation and flooding risks generated by tropical cyclones that visit Tongatapu coastal water every year, based on their recollection, knowledge, and experienced of the past storm events that hit Tongatapu. GIS work showed that those coastal towns and villages of Tongatapu that are located in areas less than 5 meter above sea level are vulnerable to the local impacts of inundation and flooding hazards. It is concluded that the yearly visited tropical cyclones to Tonga that are actually hit Tongatapu coastal zone had increasing the vulnerability of the coastal towns and villages of Tongatapu that are located in areas below 5 meters above sea level to inundation and flooding hazards associated with climate change and sea level rise related risks. Other possible cause might be the gradual uplifted of the south coast of Tongatapu due to ongoing earthquake activities in Tonga since the last 200 years. But in facts more research it has to be done to confirm this argument. The response to the local impacts of inundation and flooding hazards in the coastal zone of Tongatapu should be focused on adaptation, risk and hazard management.
The University of Waikato
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