Early warnings mitigate the effects of climate change

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A boy walks through flood waters in Kelly Village, Caroni in August 2021. – Angelo Marcelle

The Caribbean must continue to build hydrological data to inform its response to climate change and build resilience, advised Met Office Acting Director Shakeer Baig.

“Knowledge of the region’s hydrometeorological and climate information helps manage the challenges that many other tropical regions face,” he explained.

“Climate change projections for the Caribbean are quite dire, as we suggest, among other effects, an increase in annual precipitation (measurements) combined with an increase in the frequency and magnitude of the most intense tropical cycles, an increase the propensity for heat waves, droughts, floods, landslides and the associated impacts of these events on lives and livelihoods.

Baig was speaking during a webinar last Wednesday hosted by the TT Weather Bureau to highlight some of his key duties as he joined the global celebrations of World Meteorological Day 2022.

The theme of this year’s celebrations – Early Warning and Early Action – recognized the important role of hydro-meteorological and climate information in disaster risk reduction.

Hydrology is the study of the distribution and movement of water both above and below the earth’s surface. Hydrometeorology takes a closer look at hydrological (precipitation) cycles, especially as they relate to the transfer of water and energy between the earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere.

By continuing to develop the country’s early warning systems, Baig said, the fallout from the effects of natural disasters can be mitigated. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle, he said, and the public must also get involved to complete the picture.

He suggests: “Early warning systems must actively involve people and communities exposed to a range of hazards.

“It must facilitate public education on risk awareness, deliver messages and warnings effectively, and ensure there is a constant stage of preparedness and preparedness.”

Met Office early warning systems include an agricultural forecast, drought and drought monitor and outlook, El Niño and La Niña outlook (climate patterns in the Pacific influencing the weather), health outlook, rainfall and temperatures and seasonal/sub-seasonal forecasts. .

Its adverse weather alert system was developed in accordance with the World Meteorological Organization’s globally standardized multi-hazard alert system. the common alert protocol.

“The TT Weather Service has adopted this initiative and has been using this system to issue colour-coded alerts and other warnings since 2018.

“We are also actively working with partners in climate risk management and early warning systems, such as the Global Framework for Climate Services, to develop products and services that enable early warning and early action. “

Since early warning systems facilitate “continuous communication between the public, disaster managers, government authorities and relief service providers beyond the onset of a disaster”, Baig said they can also contribute to rapid disaster recovery.