Coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of cyclones and salt-water intrusion. Cyclones can damage agriculture through intense winds and flooding, as in 1986, when cyclone Nanu significantly affected the country’s palm oil and rice production. Coastal erosion and increased intensity of storm surges could impact agricultural productivity across the low-lying areas of the country.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that water crises during El Niño-driven droughts are becoming increasingly common on smaller and more remote atolls such as the South Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Western province, which have limited freshwater lenses and rainwater-harvesting capacity, and high costs to serve from the central government.
Mangrove degradation, as well as loss of seagrass beds and coral bleaching, has occurred in many parts of the Solomon Islands’ archipelago. A major impact of this has been the measured decrease in fish stocks and the elimination of natural protective barriers from storm surges. Furthermore, tuna, an important economic resource for the Solomon Islands, are known for their sensitivity to changing sea surface temperatures.
The Solomon Islands’ public health sector is vulnerable to climate variability and change, particularly with regard to the increased incidences of nutritional deficiencies due to lower crop yields and diarrheal and vector-borne diseases. Limited information is available on the extent and frequency of any health issues, but anecdotal evidence on reduced water quality and warmer temperatures point to a potentially deteriorating condition in the health sector under a changing climate.