Vanuatu Globe Overview

Vanuatu Globe

Vanuatu’s National Adaptation Programme for Action (NAPA), the key national plan for addressing climate change in Vanuatu, identified coastal flooding as a serious issue that already threatens human lives, settlements and infrastructure. This risk will increase significantly with rising sea levels.

To better understand the risks of coastal flooding, the Australian and Vanuatu Governments worked in partnership to capture high resolution elevation data for priority areas of Efate, Malekula and Espiritu Santo. Using this data maps have been developed to illustrate the potential impacts of sea level rise.

The flood maps on the Vanuatu Globe have been prepared by combining sea level rise projections with observed tide levels to illustrate events that could be expected to occur "Always" (nominally Highest Astronomical Tide), "Sometimes"  (representing a 1 in every 10 years storm surge which was equated to the highest water levels in the past 20 years following the Great Chile Earthquake in 2010) or "Rarely" (representing a 1 in every 100 years extreme storm surge which was equated to the 1987 conditions when Cyclone Uma passed through Vanuatu). The results highlight low lying areas which may be at increased risk of flooding due to sea level rise.

The sea level rise projections used are those derived by the Pacific Climate Change Science Program for a high emissions scenario: 17cm by 2030; 31cm by 2055; and 63cm by 2090. Observed tide levels are based on tide gauge measurements and anecdotal evidence from historical events.

The table below lists the sea levels used to create the maps, relative to mean sea level.






Nominally Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT)





Equated to the highest water levels in the past 20 years following the Great Chile Earthquake in 2010





Equated to the 1987 conditions when Cyclone Uma passed through Vanuatu






The maps are based on a simple ‘bucket-fill’ inundation model and should be considered as approximate only. The actual impacts may vary as this model does not take into account existing sea walls, coastal erosion, surrounding bathymetry and other local factors. The model depicts sea level rise only and does not include catchment flooding from rainfall events.                 


These images have been developed to help communicate the risks of sea level rise. The images are not provided as professional advice and should not be relied upon for site specific decision-making or for making financial or any other commitments. For decision-making purposes appropriate independent professional advice should be obtained. The Commonwealth does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the images. The Commonwealth expressly disclaims liability for any loss, however caused and whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising directly or indirectly from the use of or reliance on these images by any person.


The schools dataset included on this site was sourced from the Vanuatu Ministry of Education.