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NEWS / Caribbean decision makers benefit from regional-level climate data
Category: Government & Policy

Image: View of Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Photo by Brian Fagan/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Will Bugler

Governments in the Caribbean have identified climate variability and change as the most significant threat to continued development in the region[i]. Given the scale of the climate challenge, decision makers need effective tools and methods to help integrate climate change considerations into their existing planning and investment processes. One important aspect of this is having access to good quality, locally relevant climate change data.

In the Caribbean, the CARibbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG)[ii] project, funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), provides open access to climate data that has been downscaled, making it relevant for use in the Caribbean region. Accessed through a user-friendly website, CARIWIG also provides tools that allow decision makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, rainfall and temperature changes.

A summary of the climate data and advice on how they can be applied in the region is presented in a newly launched ‘knowledge package’. The package, comprising a policy brief, an infographic and a short video, provides an overview of CARIWIG data and information and how it can be used; pointing to illustrative examples of how it has been applied in several Caribbean countries. The knowledge package also highlights the limitations of using climate model data and provides decision-makers with the tools necessary to make effective climate decisions in the face of uncertainty.

The knowledge package provides information on:

  1. Climate data and projections that are relevant to the Caribbean region are available through the online CARIWIG portal.
  2. Historic climate data and future projections are available for a range of climate variables.
  3. A suite of simulation tools including a weather generator, a tropical storm model and a regional drought analysis tool are also freely available.
  4. A series of case studies shows how these resources have been applied to real world situations in Caribbean countries.

The CARIWIG climate data, when combined with other data and information, can help build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the Caribbean. Training and support on how to use that data as part of a wider suite of tools is being provided in the region, by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).

The package consists of an information brief, video and infographic. To access these and to find out more about the research on which they were based, visit the CDKN website of the knowledge package.

[i] Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (2009): Climate Change and the Caribbean: A Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change (2009-2015), Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Belmopan, Belize

[ii] Newcastle University (UK), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (Belize), University of East Anglia (UK), University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and the Institute of Meteorology (Cuba) (2015) The CARibbean Weather Impacts Group: