The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) Monday said that for the next three months, ocean temperatures should remain well above average, continuing to amplify heat stress in the Caribbean.
In its latest edition of the Caribbean Climate Outlooks, CariCOF said that for the period September to November “Pacific and Atlantic ocean temperatures should remain well above average, continuing to amplify heat stress in the Caribbean through October by increasing temperatures, humidity and heatwave frequency to rival some of the warmest heat seasons on record”.
It said that a moderate to strong El Niño, a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, should dampen rainfall frequency and tropical cyclone intensity in Belize and the islands and lead to more short-term dry spells than usual.
“By contrast, record-warm Atlantic waters are to increase showers intensity, leading to limited drought concern, but a particularly high potential for flooding and cascading hazards. In the Guianas, the hot and dry season will likely be intense.
“However, the coinciding unusually warm Pacific and Atlantic have opposing effects on Caribbean rainfall and hurricane season activity. For now, the record-warm Atlantic appears predominant in much of the islands, resulting in limited drought concern, whereas the potential for flooding, flash floods and cascading hazards will be high due to copious rains. By contrast, the Guianas will be predominantly drier and hotter from mid-August,” it added.
It said rainfall totals to October are likely to be the usual or higher across the ABC (Aruba, Bonnaire and Curacao) Islands, The Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and in the Leeward Islands. By contrast, Barbados, Belize, the Guianas, Trinidad and Tobago and the Windward Islands are likely to record the usual rainfall amounts or less.
Long-term drought is evolving in central Belize, Dominica and southern French Guiana, and might possibly develop or continue in Martinique, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago at the end of November. (CMC)