Region Warned Heat Stress Will Continue Over nNxt Three Months

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) said on Wednesday that tropical Pacific and Atlantic Ocean temperatures should remain well above average during the next three-month period.

In its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, CariCOF said, as a result, the condition will continue “to amplify heat stress in the Caribbean by increasing temperatures, humidity and heatwave frequency to rival the warmest conditions on record – 2010, 2016 and 2020”.

“However, the coinciding unusually warm Pacific and Atlantic have opposing effects on Caribbean rainfall and hurricane season activity,” it added.

CariCOF said that 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 said.

CariCOF said that as of July 1, severe (or worse) short-term drought has developed in Aruba, Bonnaire and Curacao, Belize, and eastern parts of the Dominican Republic and that long-term drought has developed in St Vincent.

It said at the end of October, short-term drought is evolving in French Guiana, and might possibly develop in northern and central Belize, Guyana, and Tobago.

Long-term drought is evolving in central Belize, Dominica and southern French Guiana, and might possibly develop or – at the end of November 2023 – continue in Martinique, St Vincent, and Trinidad and Tobago.

CariCOF is warning that between November 2023 to January 2024, temperatures are forecast to be uncomfortably high to many, especially because they are likely to end up even higher than usual during the second half of the annual Heat Season.

“Moreover, humidity and the frequency of heatwaves will ramp up in August and September, further increasing heat stress in a heat season that may rival that of the record hot years 2010, 2016 and 2020,” CariCOF said.

It said the unusually warm tropical North Atlantic Ocean and this year’s El Niño are expected to last early 2023 means that unusually high temperatures will likely prevail through January 2024.

“Fortunately, the frequent, excessive heat exposure observed during this year’s Heat Season due to high temperatures, humidity and recurring heatwaves should steadily decrease in November,” it added.

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