Expert says rainfall is king both for water supply and agriculture

Caribbean nations must be more cognizant of the importance of its rainwater resources, more so in this era of climate change.

That’s the view of the University of the West Indies’, Dr. Michael Taylor as he addressed environment and agriculture stakeholders at the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Co-operation (CTA) Climate Change Adaptation – Water Management workshop, which was held at Roseau’s Pastoral Centre.

Presenting on the topic “Climate Variability and Change and Water Availability in the Caribbean”, Dr. Taylor further explained that in many Caribbean countries, rainfall is heavily relied on for both surface and ground water.

He noted that to a large extent, the rain water is now one of the most important commodities for Caribbean “Our context shows that there is very high reliance on rainfall and therefore we are very vulnerable to vagaries of climate”.

He explained that research suggests how the vulnerability will play out:  “Seasonality is key for our rainfall availability and that summer rainfall is key (May to November).  We need the rain in the wet season to last us through the dry period.”

Irregular disruptions to seasonality are caused by ENSO (2-7 year variation in  El Nino activity) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (climate variability in 10- to 12-year cycles).

Dr. Taylor  underscored the point that climate change will affect rainfall for the Caribbean and that the region will face drier conditions by end of the 21st century, in particular during the wet season (May to November). On the whole, he noted that climate change is expected to result in increased temperature, changing weather patterns, more intense hurricanes and rising sea levels.

The Climate Change forum continues until Wednesday 11th October 2011 at the Pastoral Centre, Roseau.

This year’s theme is “Caribbean Food and Nutrition Security in a Changing Climate – The Nature Island Experience”.