The climate in the Caribbean will be at least more than 0.65 ° C warmer and 20 percent drier in some places by 2030, as predicted by the 2020 State of the Caribbean Climate Report (SoCC, in its acronym in English) .
Project leader Michael Taylor, director of the Climate Studies Group at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica), told SciDev.Net that the report makes “evidence-based climate information accessible to decision makers, in non-technical language that allows them to provide scientific justification for their adaptation and mitigation strategies”.
In a virtual interview with researcher Tannecia Stephenson, Taylor noted that since many Caribbean states are already experiencing the impacts of climate, it is important for leaders to have data-driven information readily available.
With five Category 5 hurricanes between 2016 and 2020, successive seasons with record hurricanes and devastating super-storms, the impacts on the physical and social infrastructure and economies of the states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) must be strategically and proactively analyzed.
Taylor and Stephenson noted that the report also demonstrates the collaborative successes of regional institutions as due to size and limited resources, they individually could not have provided this range of high-quality information.
The SoCC – which combines the work of the Climate Studies Group of the University of the West Indies, the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, and the Cuban Institute of Meteorology – contains analysis and information on the 19 nations of the region, considering their differences and with recommendations for the way forward.
“Caribbean leaders must integrate climate risk mitigation planning across sectors through informed proactive action using regional climate data.”
Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC)
The intention is to provide resources that help “strengthen the strategic planning and decision-making processes that will be necessary to accelerate resilience-building efforts in the Caribbean”.
“The climate has changed, it will continue to change and it is changing the way we live, and that requires change,” Taylor said.
“This information should inform actions for recovery after a disaster emphasizing proactive activities and adaptation, which is more profitable than action after the event,” he told SciDev.Net the Deputy Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), Ulric Trotz via email.
“Caribbean leaders must integrate climate risk mitigation planning across sectors through informed proactive action using regional climate data,” said Trotz, who guided collaboration between scientists and regional institutions.
Since 2005, Caribbean countries report higher temperatures and longer periods of drought. The SoCC predicts that the region will experience a 20-35 percent reduction in rainfall in some places.
The data also shows a more extended hurricane season, with more stronger storms. In the 2020 season there were a record 29 named storms, and in 10 years temperatures are forecast to rise between 0.65 and 0.84 ° C.
For the climate negotiator Carlos Fuller, “countries should invest more in developing and maintaining their observing systems and not just seek financing to expand and improve them.”
Sectors such as fisheries, health, agriculture, which are most likely to be affected by climate change, must also commit to collecting and sharing data and investing in the implementation of sector-specific actions, he said.
“Our ability to provide information for decision-making depends on our ability to collect climate data. Give greater support to the National Meteorological Offices and Departments so that they acquire the necessary measurement and monitoring tools, and the capacity to maintain them, ”said Trotz.
Despite the disappointing forecasts, SoCC scientists believe there is enough information to guide collaborative actions to build climate resilience and reduce disaster risk.
Following this report, on December 7, the World Meteorological Organization presented the State of the World Climate Report.