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Climate Change in the Pacific: Photos Vlad Sokhin PANOS February 10, 2017

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, National Geographic , trackback
By Janice Cantieri
Photographs by Vlad Sokhin, Panos
Warm Waters is a long-term photographic project by Vlad Sokhin investigating the effects of climate change on the nature and people of communities living in and around the Pacific Ocean. Tackling one of the biggest issues facing mankind through the prism of communities whose very existence is imperilled by Global Warming, Vlad has been travelling across the Pacific region and hopes to cover island nations and significant territories from Alaska to New Zealand. Vlad is collecting visual evidence of man-made causes of Global Warming and Climate Change and how these phenomena are being dealt with in each of the communities. In the first part of Warm Waters, Vlad travelled across countries in the Central and South Pacific – Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Niue.


Global temperatures hit record highs the past three years in a row—and the people of the Pacific have been feeling the effects.

The Pacific region has experienced devastating cyclones, storm surges, coral bleaching, and irregular rainfall patterns. Sea level rise threatens low-lying islands, where salt water infiltrates drinking water wells and kills staple food crops, as well as damaging property.

Photographer Vlad Sokhin has been documenting environmental changes in Pacific communities since 2013. Sokhin focuses on indigenous communities who are adapting to challenges created primarily by carbon emissions from developed countries, he says.

“In every country I’ve seen effects of global warming and climate change,” he says. “Different countries face different effects. For example, in Guam, the biggest challenge is coral bleaching, but in the last few years, the cyclones have become more intense.”

Abnormally warm ocean waters can bleach corals, which occurs when stressed corals expel the colorful algae living within their tissues. Coral bleaching threatens the reef ecosystem, but increasingly intense cyclones and tropical storm surges pose immediate danger to island residents.

Two category-five cyclones hit the Pacific in the past two years: Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015, and Cyclone Winston hit Fiji in February 2016. Winston was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Southern Hemisphere in recorded time.


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