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PROJECT: Supporting risk-based decision-making in the Caribbean (CARIWIG)

Project Reference: RSGL-0024H

Managers and policy makers in the Caribbean require knowledge of the likely impacts and hazards arising from climate change that are specific to their geographical location and that are relevant to their planning time-horizons (e.g. the short term, 2030s, or the longer term, 2080s). However, current climate model projections of the weather are of limited use in this respect due to scale and bias issues. Sophisticated downscaling providing locally relevant unbiased climate change information remains sporadic. Clear guidance for managers and policy makers for the utilization of such information is also limited.

The CARIWIG project addressed these gaps through the provision of unbiased, locally relevant information on the weather impacts of climate change for a range of time horizons. The project also provided training for Caribbean-based technical staff in the use of such weather information, helps them develop support networks within the region and partnerships with UK research institutes specializing in the management of a range of hazards and impacts. A web service has been established to provide weather scenario information, on time scales from the present day, the short term (e.g. up to 2030s) and through to the longer term (e.g. 2080s). The CARIWIG project has produced the weather and climate information by adapting stochastic weather-generator technology from EARWIG and UKCIP09 climate knowledge systems. These weather generator models have provided locally relevant weather projections, beginning with a group of case study sites (see below – the actual case study papers will be published on this space soon), based on the best available observed data and climate model outputs for the region.

Research findings, best practice and the web service are disseminated through exchange visits with specialist institutions to help build regional capacity, workshops with key stakeholders and the provision of technical training for stakeholder staff.

The Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) held its inaugural workshop in Kingston, Jamaica on February 6 -7, 2013. The workshop initiated consultations to determine local needs for climate information for climate impact assessments and the broader decision-making process in the Caribbean, focusing on some of the region’s economic lifelines: the water, agriculture and coastal resource sectors.

Below find a series of outputs and presentations about the tools and case studies the project developed:


Reports, briefs and presentations

  • Case study and presentation on Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Agriculture on Cayo District: Insights of the implications of the plausible climate change expected to probably happen in a near future.
  • Case study and presentation on Barbados Coastal Protection: Assessing the utility of the Regional Climate Model, Weather Generator and Tropical Storm Model in coastal protection and disaster risk management.
  • Case study and presentation on the Health Sector and Dengue Fever in the Belize District: Examining the impact of changes in climatic variables on dengue fever occurrence in the Belize District.
  • Case study and presentation using the Caribbean Assessment of Regional Drought (CARiDRO) tool: A simple and user-friendly online tool that can be used to explore the potential risk of different kind of drought in the future, including uncertainty.
  • Case study and presentation on the effects of climate change on surface water resources and availability in St Lucia:  This case study will provide quantified evidence of the potential effects of climate change on surface water resources for two catchments in Saint Lucia.
  • Case study and presentation on Flood risk and Urban Development in Belize City: Looking at the problems faced by Belize City especially in terms of flood risk and intense rainfall.
  • Case study and presentation on Scenarios of discharge for the Hope River Watershed in response to variable tropical cyclone characteristics: Investigating Six scenarios of discharge from the Hope River Watershed in eastern Jamaica.
  • Case study and presentation on the Impact of climate change on sweet potato: Assessing the impact of future climate change on field grown sweet potato production
  • Case study on Drought and Agricultural-related Forest Fires in Belize: This case study summarizes the use of the CARiDRO tool to assess how climate conditions are related with agricultural forest fires by using drought indexes in the Toledo District of Belize.
  • Case study on Drought Assessment & Projection for the Eastern Caribbean Using the CARiDRO Tool: This case study summarizes the results of past and future drought assessment in the Caribbean, particularly in the Eastern Caribbean.
  • Case study of a local assessment of future drought in Cuba: Using the CARiDRO tool estimates of SPI and SPEI drought indexes this study investigates how frequent drought events will become in the Las Tunas region.

Scientific dissemination of the CARIWIG project findings takes place through submissions to scientific journals. Articles first considered the historical climatic context, present a model based on present-climate storms and hurricanes,  and finally consider approaches to modelling the future climate. A summary of journal articles by project members can be found here, these include:

  • Assessing the effect of domain size over the Caribbean region using the PRECIS regional climate model (published in Climate Dynamics).
  • Long-term trends in precipitation and temperature across the Caribbean (submitted to the International Journal of Climatology)
  • Rainfall-Runoff simulations using the CARIWIG Simple Model for Advection of Storms and Hurricanes and HEC HMS Tools – the Hurricane Ivan and Jamaica Hope River watershed case study (submitted to Natural Hazards).
  • Downscaling regional climate model outputs for the Caribbean using a weather generator (submitted to the International Journal of Climatology).

For more information please also visit the CARIWIG project website.

Partners:  Dr. Ulric Trotz, CCCCC, Belize; Prof. Philip Jones, University of East Anglia, UK; Dr. Michael Taylor, University of the West Indies, Jamaica; Abel Centalla, Institute of Meteorology, Cuba

CDKN funding:  £640,000

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