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Stephenson T.S.,University of the West Indies | Vincent L.A.,Environment Canada | Allen T.,University of Miami | Van Meerbeeck C.J.,Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology | And 21 more authors.
International Journal of Climatology | Year: 2014

A workshop was held at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, in May 2012 to build capacity in climate data rescue and to enhance knowledge about climate change in the Caribbean region. Scientists brought their daily observational surface temperature and precipitation data from weather stations for an assessment of quality and homogeneity and for the calculation of climate indices helpful for studying climate change in their region. This study presents the trends in daily and extreme temperature and precipitation indices in the Caribbean region for records spanning the 1961-2010 and 1986-2010 intervals. Overall, the results show a warming of the surface air temperature at land stations. In general, the indices based on minimum temperature show stronger warming trends than indices calculated from maximum temperature. The frequency of warm days, warm nights and extreme high temperatures has increased while fewer cool days, cool nights and extreme low temperatures were found for both periods. Changes in precipitation indices are less consistent and the trends are generally weak. Small positive trends were found in annual total precipitation, daily intensity, maximum number of consecutive dry days and heavy rainfall events particularly during the period 1986-2010. Correlations between indices and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) index suggest that temperature variability and, to a lesser extent, precipitation extremes are related to the AMO signal of the North Atlantic surface sea temperatures: stronger associations are found in August and September for the temperature indices and in June and October for some of the precipitation indices. © 2014 Environment Canada. International Journal of Climatology published by Royal Meteorological Society and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source


Taylor M.A.,University of the West Indies | Centella A.,Institute Meteorologia Of La Republica Of Cuba | Charlery J.,University of the West Indies | Bezanilla A.,Institute Meteorologia Of La Republica Of Cuba | And 4 more authors.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2013

A group of Caribbean climate scientists gathered at the PRECIS workshop held in Havana, Cuba in September 2003, to correct the information imbalance prevailing in the region regarding climate change. The immediate tasks involved acquiring a regional climate model (RCM) and learning how to run the model. Other tasks involved learning how to interpret the model output for the value added. The model selected for such a task was the Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies (PRECIS) regional model, which had been released by the Hadley Center of the United Kingdom and was being promoted as ideal for meeting the climate information needs of developing countries and small island states. The result of the workshop was the decision to install the PRECIS model at three regional institutes covering five countries. Source


Karmalkar A.V.,University of Oxford | Taylor M.A.,University of the West Indies | Campbell J.,University of the West Indies | Stephenson T.,University of the West Indies | And 5 more authors.
Atmosfera | Year: 2013

Observed and projected changes in climate have serious socio-economic implications for the Caribbean islands. This article attempts to present basic climate change information-based on previous studies, available observations and climate model simulations-at spatial scales relevant for islands in the Caribbean. We use the General Circulation Model (GCM) data included in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 3 (CMIP3) and the UK Hadley Centre regional climate model (RCM) data to provide both present-day and scenario-based future information on precipitation and temperature for individual island states. Gridded station observations and satellite data are used to study 20th century climate and to assess the performance of climate models. With main focus on precipitation, we also discuss factors such as sea surface temperature, sea level pressure and winds that affect seasonal variations in precipitation. The CMIP3 ensemble mean and the RCM successfully capture the large-scale atmospheric circulation features in the region, but show difficulty in capturing the characteristic bimodal seasonal cycle of precipitation. Future drying during the wet season in this region under climate change scenarios has been noted in previous studies, but the magnitude of change is highly uncertain in both GCM and RCM simulations. The projected decrease is more prominent in the early wet season erasing the mid-summer drought feature in the western Caribbean. The RCM simulations show improvements over the GCM mainly due to better representation of landmass, but its performance is critically dependent on the driving GCM. This study highlights the need for high-resolution observations and ensemble of climate model simulations to fully understand climate change and its impacts on small islands in the Caribbean. Source

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