What does climate change mean for Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands?

  • Pacific Islands contribute less than .03% of global greenhouse gas emissions, yet suffer perhaps some of the greatest and most immediate threats of climate change.
  • Understanding, coping with and adapting to climate change is vital to survival in the islands and island populations.

About This Site

The Pacific Climate Exchange Site’s goal is to provide the most recent information about how climate change is affecting the region. This website is a resource point to gather info and share/learn how other pacific island nations are facing the challenges of climate change and adapting to climate change. This site focuses on how climate impacts agriculture, food production, and security.

Climate change has adversely impacted agricultural systems in many ways throughout the world and is projected to become more severe over this century (Kelman and West 2009, NCA 2014). Increases in temperature, rainfall variability and extreme weather events have a significant impact on the functioning and productivity of agricultural systems around the globe. The relationship between climate change and agriculture in the Pacific Islands is crucial to understand given the major consequences it has for food security in a region already experiencing significant impacts of climate change. Biophysical impacts of global warming and climate change such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, the degradation of ecosystems, increased risks of fires and insect upsurges will all have a particularly significant impact on agriculture and food systems in the Pacific Islands (FAO 2016).


American Samoa

View of American Samoa

Find out how climate change is affecting American Samoa and how farmers and scientists are using climate smart agriculture to combat it.

CNMI (Northern Marianas)

CNMI farmers and scientists are at the forefront using various climate smart agriculture methods to combat climate change effects. Find out how!


Guam faces various climate change challenges such as invasive species. Find out how farmers and scientists are rising to the challenge.


Hawai’i has been affected by climate change from rising temperatures to decreasing rainfalls. Find out how farmers and scientists are solving it.

Clay Trauernacht

Clay Trauernacht's scientific interests revolve around the application of quantitative ecology to understand how people and climate influence the dynamics of tropical forest and savanna ecosystems, especially through fire. His current program (www.nrem-fire.org), focuses on improving wildfire management in Hawai'i and the Pacific, emphasizing science extension and communication. In addition to years of ecological and botanical fieldwork, he has published and presented papers on plant community ecology and population modeling, geospatial analysis of fire and species occurrence, and the use of local knowledge to adapt management strategies and inform research needs. You can contact him at [email protected].

Patricia Fifita

Patricia Fifita is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Management (NREM) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM). Her background spans medical and environmental anthropology, engages indigenous research methodologies and analytics toward collaborative and community based participatory work in the Pacific Islands. She is currently working with the College of Tropical Agricultural & Human Resources at UHM to support climate literacy, adaptation and resilience within the Cooperative Extension programs and communities in Hawai‘i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. You can contact her at [email protected].