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Island Environment and Landscape Responses to 1997 Tropical Cyclones in Fiji

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Title:Island Environment and Landscape Responses to 1997 Tropical Cyclones in Fiji
Authors:Terry, James P.
Raj, Rishi
Date Issued:Jul 1999
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Terry JP, Raj R. 1999. Island environment and landscape responses to 1997 tropical cyclones in Fiji. Pac Sci 53(3): 257-272.
Abstract:Principal responses of the physical environment of the Fiji Islands
to tropical cyclones Gavin and June in 1997 were investigated. These cyclones,
which entered Fiji waters in March and May 1997, respectively, were the first
severe tropical depressions to traverse Fiji since 1993. Northern and western islands
were the most severely affected. Hurricane-force winds, intense rainfall,
and temporary storm surge caused damaging effects, including widespread
flooding, landslides, and coastal degradation. Different tropical cyclones produce
contrasting patterns of landscape change on Pacific islands, depending on
strength and duration of the storms, proximity of the storm tracks to land, rainfall
totals and maximum intensities, hydrological behavior of the vegetation
and soils, and many other factors influencing the environmental susceptibility
of the islands concerned. Spatial patterns in the environmental responses of
Fiji to cyclones Gavin and June were assessed using satellite images of the
storms' movements and data on rainfall, river rises, landslide occurrence, and
coastal inundation. Field observations at some of the worst affected areas demonstrate
the magnitude of these effects.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 53, Number 3, 1999

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