Categorized | Featured, Local, News, Regional

Caribbean told to prepare for heavy rains in 2016

adapted by B. Roach

DSC_3075

: Head table of speakers at the opening of the workshop. Steve Menzies, – Lisa-Anne Jepsen, GFCS WMO, David Eades, Toshiyuki Nakaegawa

Barbados, CMC – After months of lower than average rainfall that has left reservoirs across the Caribbean dry, forecasters are predicting heavy rains later in 2016 that could lead to floods and landslides.

Adrian Trotman, agro meteorologist and chief of applied meteorology and climatology at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), told a press conference with 15 Caribbean journalists including Editor Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 that over the last year, his agency has been providing information relative to a deficit in rainfall across the region.

DSC_3076 The press conference took place at the end of a workshop, by the OECS Commission, USAID funded: to Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) Project, in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the National Drought Mitigation Centre (NDMC) out of the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

It included a 4-day national training workshop on the Development of National Drought Management Policies and National Drought Early Warning Information Systems. This was all part of a regional activity which entails 3 national workshops.

This was also part of an international initiative sponsored by the WMO to show how climate forecasting services are being used to boost business and economic opportunities in all Small Island Developing States.

Trotman informed that the drought continued for some time during 2015, until there was some relief towards the end of August to about early December in some Caribbean countries.

“But we have yet again gone into a period of below normal rainfall, where the brief relief didn’t actually take us out of the very dry conditions that we have been experiencing in the Caribbean for the past year, and, in some cases, as early as 2014.”

DSC_3101

Panel that took part in the press conference: l-r: Jackson, Adrian Trotman. ApuA hydrologist and BBC broadcaster

Trotman told regional journalists that things are looking up with the latest forecast suggesting that this period of dryness will continue until April or May before the rains return.

He said the region has to continue to be on its guard with respect to low water availability, conservation and mitigation of the impact of the drought. “However, on the other hand, our most recent information is suggesting that what is taking place in the Pacific [Ocean], … we are highly likely now, as we move into the Hurricane Season, to have an end to that dry wind force — the El Niño, which causes these dry conditions in the Caribbean region. “And, as we move into the Hurricane Season, we quite likely will have a reverse of the condition.”

He said the La Niña, the opposite effect in the Pacific that tends to give the Caribbean high rainfall, is likely to develop during 2016, as he explained that in 2015, the development of hurricanes was largely inhibited despite the impacts of Tropical Storm Erika on Dominica and Joaquin on the Bahamas.

“The region had very low cyclone energy in 2015, he said adding that the La Niña should develop — as more global scientists believe will happen – does the opposite. It will help to build and develop hurricanes over the 2016 period, possible.”

He said that in light of the forecast, he would continue to ask that Caribbean residents pay attention to the CIMH’s monthly updates, adding that the agency will release its June to November outlook at the end of May.

DSC_3077“As we move to wetter condition later in the year, the likelihood of high activity regarding hurricanes is a real one” — something opposite to what we have been experiencing over the last year. “Whether we have the La Niña event or how strong that event will be will help to determine what takes place across the region,” he added.

Trotman said in Jamaica the dry season would not be as intense as in the rest of the Caribbean, noting that even now, in the northwestern Caribbean there is already a lot of rainfall. “And if we switch now to the La Niña, these areas will have extended period of above normal rainfall, where their dry season could almost look like a small wet season.”

Cédric Van Meerbeeck, who leads forecasting at the CIMH, said the agency is hoping that the rains will come back progressively. “First, you need to allow the soil to suck in the moisture, and then, progressively, refill our water reservoirs. … What we are warning against is the possibility, especially in the La Niña, that the rains will come back too fast.”

Van Meerbeck said that when this happens, the region is confronted with the threat of flooding.

“Now, nobody wants flooding,” he said, even as he noted that some areas of the various Caribbean countries are more vulnerable to flooding. “What we are saying now is, yes, the rains will come back; but, what we would be able to say in the next few months is how fast and how strong they will come back and then, thereby increase our preparedness for the hazard, which is flooding.”

From the regional disaster management perspective, Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), said that his agency promotes education and awareness as a year-round activity.

“What we would like to see, what we are promoting and working towards is where press conferences of this nature would hear us hearing from CIMH — the scientists and the meteorologists — about what is forecast, predicted, but evaluating whether the plans that we have promoted, advanced, asked to be adopted, supported the adoption of, are implanted, how well they are implanted and what else we need to do to ensure that the keep our activities in dealing with the potential for flood or drought scenarios at the standard which we require.”DSC_3078

Jackson said CDEMA is hoping to see greater investments in the areas of operational readiness, contingency planning, better use of the science that is being provided, and better understanding of the products available to stakeholders.

Overall, the experts believe that recent advances in climate forecasting services for the Caribbean now means that government planners and other bodies can now make important decisions based on seasonal forecasts up to three to six months in advance.

“We know that advanced warning of an extreme event like a hurricane can help us to be more prepared. The same now applies for longer-term climatic events and this means that the sooner we can have an early warning of changing conditions the longer time we have to prepare and be more effective at mitigating those impacts,” he said.

Noted BBC climate change broadcaster David Eades was one of the facilitators at the workshop, a one day SIDS (Small Island Developing States)-sponsored climate change forecasting workshop in Barbados on February 17. The objective was also to help regional media understand the role of the Caribbean Institute for meteorology and hydrology (CIMH) and the economic value of climate change.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

adapted by B. Roach

DSC_3075

: Head table of speakers at the opening of the workshop. Steve Menzies, – Lisa-Anne Jepsen, GFCS WMO, David Eades, Toshiyuki Nakaegawa

Barbados, CMC – After months of lower than average rainfall that has left reservoirs across the Caribbean dry, forecasters are predicting heavy rains later in 2016 that could lead to floods and landslides.

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Adrian Trotman, agro meteorologist and chief of applied meteorology and climatology at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), told a press conference with 15 Caribbean journalists including Editor Bennette Roach of The Montserrat Reporter on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 that over the last year, his agency has been providing information relative to a deficit in rainfall across the region.

DSC_3076 The press conference took place at the end of a workshop, by the OECS Commission, USAID funded: to Reducing the Risks to Human and Natural Assets Resulting from Climate Change (RRACC) Project, in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the National Drought Mitigation Centre (NDMC) out of the University of Nebraska Lincoln.

It included a 4-day national training workshop on the Development of National Drought Management Policies and National Drought Early Warning Information Systems. This was all part of a regional activity which entails 3 national workshops.

This was also part of an international initiative sponsored by the WMO to show how climate forecasting services are being used to boost business and economic opportunities in all Small Island Developing States.

Trotman informed that the drought continued for some time during 2015, until there was some relief towards the end of August to about early December in some Caribbean countries.

“But we have yet again gone into a period of below normal rainfall, where the brief relief didn’t actually take us out of the very dry conditions that we have been experiencing in the Caribbean for the past year, and, in some cases, as early as 2014.”

DSC_3101

Panel that took part in the press conference: l-r: Jackson, Adrian Trotman. ApuA hydrologist and BBC broadcaster

Trotman told regional journalists that things are looking up with the latest forecast suggesting that this period of dryness will continue until April or May before the rains return.

He said the region has to continue to be on its guard with respect to low water availability, conservation and mitigation of the impact of the drought. “However, on the other hand, our most recent information is suggesting that what is taking place in the Pacific [Ocean], … we are highly likely now, as we move into the Hurricane Season, to have an end to that dry wind force — the El Niño, which causes these dry conditions in the Caribbean region. “And, as we move into the Hurricane Season, we quite likely will have a reverse of the condition.”

He said the La Niña, the opposite effect in the Pacific that tends to give the Caribbean high rainfall, is likely to develop during 2016, as he explained that in 2015, the development of hurricanes was largely inhibited despite the impacts of Tropical Storm Erika on Dominica and Joaquin on the Bahamas.

“The region had very low cyclone energy in 2015, he said adding that the La Niña should develop — as more global scientists believe will happen – does the opposite. It will help to build and develop hurricanes over the 2016 period, possible.”

He said that in light of the forecast, he would continue to ask that Caribbean residents pay attention to the CIMH’s monthly updates, adding that the agency will release its June to November outlook at the end of May.

DSC_3077“As we move to wetter condition later in the year, the likelihood of high activity regarding hurricanes is a real one” — something opposite to what we have been experiencing over the last year. “Whether we have the La Niña event or how strong that event will be will help to determine what takes place across the region,” he added.

Trotman said in Jamaica the dry season would not be as intense as in the rest of the Caribbean, noting that even now, in the northwestern Caribbean there is already a lot of rainfall. “And if we switch now to the La Niña, these areas will have extended period of above normal rainfall, where their dry season could almost look like a small wet season.”

Cédric Van Meerbeeck, who leads forecasting at the CIMH, said the agency is hoping that the rains will come back progressively. “First, you need to allow the soil to suck in the moisture, and then, progressively, refill our water reservoirs. … What we are warning against is the possibility, especially in the La Niña, that the rains will come back too fast.”

Van Meerbeck said that when this happens, the region is confronted with the threat of flooding.

“Now, nobody wants flooding,” he said, even as he noted that some areas of the various Caribbean countries are more vulnerable to flooding. “What we are saying now is, yes, the rains will come back; but, what we would be able to say in the next few months is how fast and how strong they will come back and then, thereby increase our preparedness for the hazard, which is flooding.”

From the regional disaster management perspective, Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), said that his agency promotes education and awareness as a year-round activity.

“What we would like to see, what we are promoting and working towards is where press conferences of this nature would hear us hearing from CIMH — the scientists and the meteorologists — about what is forecast, predicted, but evaluating whether the plans that we have promoted, advanced, asked to be adopted, supported the adoption of, are implanted, how well they are implanted and what else we need to do to ensure that the keep our activities in dealing with the potential for flood or drought scenarios at the standard which we require.”DSC_3078

Jackson said CDEMA is hoping to see greater investments in the areas of operational readiness, contingency planning, better use of the science that is being provided, and better understanding of the products available to stakeholders.

Overall, the experts believe that recent advances in climate forecasting services for the Caribbean now means that government planners and other bodies can now make important decisions based on seasonal forecasts up to three to six months in advance.

“We know that advanced warning of an extreme event like a hurricane can help us to be more prepared. The same now applies for longer-term climatic events and this means that the sooner we can have an early warning of changing conditions the longer time we have to prepare and be more effective at mitigating those impacts,” he said.

Noted BBC climate change broadcaster David Eades was one of the facilitators at the workshop, a one day SIDS (Small Island Developing States)-sponsored climate change forecasting workshop in Barbados on February 17. The objective was also to help regional media understand the role of the Caribbean Institute for meteorology and hydrology (CIMH) and the economic value of climate change.