Climatic Change

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 317–335 | Cite as

Ua ‘afa le Aso Stormy weather today: traditional ecological knowledge of weather and climate. The Samoa experience

  • Penehuro Fatu LefaleEmail author
Open Access


This paper examines traditional ecological knowledge of weather and climate in Samoa, a Polynesian community in the South Pacific. The research found Samoans have their own unique seasonal calendar. The Samoan seasonal calendar is predominantly based on the observations of local environmental changes, which are in turn influenced by weather and climate. Monitoring changes in plants and animal behaviour, for example, are key indicators used by the Samoans to forecast changes in weather and climate. In addition, their communal and family social activities like hunting, fishing and feasting are driven by the seasonal calendar. The Samoans knowledge of cloud formation, conditions conducive to the formation and onset of severe weather systems and seasonal changes in climate, helped them anticipate, plan and adapt to extreme weather and climate events. The ability and knowledge of the Samoans to forecast the onset of extreme weather and climate events, relying predominantly on local environmental changes are vital tools that should be incorporated in the formulation of human induced climate change adaptation strategies.


Tropical Cyclone Southern Oscillation Index World Intellectual Property Organization Inter Tropical Convergence Zone Human Induce Climate Change 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2009

Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Science, Research & DevelopmentMetService (Meteorological Service of New Zealand Ltd)WellingtonNew Zealand

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