POLICY BRIEF: Climate data and projections: Supporting evidence-based decision-making in the Caribbean
Governments in the Caribbean recognise climate variability and change to be the most significant threat to sustainable development in the region. Policies and strategies such as the regional framework for achieving development resilient to climate change and its implementation plan acknowledge the scale of the threat and provide a plan that aspires to safeguard regional prosperity and meet development goals. To do this, decision-makers need effective tools and methods to help integrate climate change considerations into their planning and investment processes. To build resilience, decision-makers can benefit from access to appropriate climate change data that are specific to their geographical location and relevant to their planning horizons.
The CARibbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) project, funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), gives access to climate data that have been downscaled, making them relevant for use in the Caribbean region. The project also provides tools that allow decision-makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, rainfall and temperature changes. Caribbean decision-makers, researchers and scientists can access this data freely, through the CARIWIG website.
While these data are a useful aid for decision-making, they do not provide certainty about the scale or timing of climate impacts. The process of downscaling data makes them relevant to decisions taken at the national level in the Caribbean, but also increases the uncertainty. The data should therefore be used to inform decisions, but should not form the sole basis for action. Instead, decisions-makers should aspire to take adaptation measures that perform well over a wide range of conditions.
This policy brief provides an overview of CARIWIG data and information and how they can be used, pointing to illustrative examples of how they have been applied in several Caribbean countries. It also provides decision-makers with the tools necessary to make effective climate decisions in the face of uncertainty.
- Climate data and projections that are relevant to the Caribbean region are available through the online CARIWIG portal.
- Historical climate data and future projections are available for a range of climate variables.
- A suite of simulation tools, including a weather generator, a tropical storm model and a regional drought analysis tool are also freely available.
- These resources are useful for decision makers. When combined with other data and information, they can help to build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the Caribbean.
- A series of case studies shows how these resources have been applied to real-world situations in Caribbean countries.
- The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) is providing training and support on how to use CARIWIG outputs.
- CDKN-funded projects provide methods and tools for decision makers to take proactive action to build climate resilience, despite the uncertainty that comes with future
Picture: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center