Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum underway at State House as challenges of dry season, impact of climate change come to the fore

Adrian Trotman

Head of the Caribbean Regional Climate Centre, Adrian Trotman has said that the dry season offers a significant challenge to the region. Trotman was delivering remarks at the start of the 2023-2024 Dry Season Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) held at the State House Conference Center this week.

 The 3-day forum which got underway on Wednesday was held in collaboration with The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), and the Dominica Meteorological Service.

 “Ask anybody from the water sector, the period from around December to May poses significant challenges to our water sectors,” he said. “You lack water, particularly rainfall, you lack agriculture…”

 He continued, “The dry season offers a significant challenge to the region and that is what, in 2014, we focused then on having two CariCOFs every year. One related to the challenges of our hurricane seasons and another, the opposing challenges of our dry season.”

 Trotman added, “Ever since 2014 up until now in 2023 we’ve been hosting two Caribbean Climate Forums per year.”

 Meanwhile, Senior Met Officer at the Dominica Meteorological Service, Ithoma James said this regional outlook forum holds particular significance as the Caribbean region “confront[s] escalating challenges posed by climate change.”

 “The impacts of climate change are felt worldwide manifesting itself in different ways,” he indicated. “We have extreme weather events, rising sea levels and altered precipitation patterns.”

 According to James, CariCOF serves as a bridge between climate scientists, policy-makers, and stakeholders from across the region.

“This unique forum fosters the engagement of knowledge and expertise, ensuring that the latest climate forecast reaches who it needs to reach the most,” he stated.

 He went on to state that through collaborative efforts CariCOF empowers communities and nations to make informed decisions that align with climate realities.

 “For developing countries like ours, particularly vulnerable to climate change, CariCOF plays an indispensable role by providing access to up-to-date climate information,” he said. “The forum enables us to proactively prepare for and mitigate the impact of climate variability and extreme weather.”

 James pointed out also that CariCOF significance extends beyond just the information hub.

“It fosters a spirit of collaboration and cooperation between stakeholders…and from diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” he noted.

 Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) are said to be critical for the development and delivery of effective early warning information systems. The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) is one such RCOF that seeks to develop appropriate climate services, tailored to the Caribbean region to support the goals of climate variability and change adaptation, and disaster risk reduction in the face of growing threats from extreme weather and climate events, such as tropical cyclones, droughts, floods, and increasing heat events.

This year, the 2023-2024 Dry Season CariCOF continues to focus on the water, and agriculture and food security sectors as the dry season has implications for water resources management and agricultural production. However, with Dominica, being the target country for climate and health under the Intra ACP Climate Services and Related Application (ClimSA) Programme, the 2023-2024 Dry Season CariCOF will also focus on the health sector.


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