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Barbados - Climate

The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. Barbados lies within the tropics. Its generally pleasant maritime climate is influenced by northeast trade winds, which moderate the tropical temperature. Cool, northeasterly trade winds are prevalent during the December to June dry season. The overall annual temperature ranges from 24C to 28C; slightly lower temperatures prevail at higher elevations. Humidity levels are between 71 percent and 76 percent year round. Rainfall occurs primarily between July and December and varies considerably with elevation. Rainfall may average 187.5 centimeters per year in the higher central area as compared with 127.5 centimeters in the coastal zone.

The natural hazards of particular relevance to Barbados are hurricanes and tropical storms, with associated storm surges and flooding. Other hazards include landslides, coastal erosion, and earthquakes. Barbados did not suffer direct impacts from hurricanes during the period under review, but the country was affected by Tropical Storm Tomas in October 2010. No lives were lost but there was damage to roofs and homes, downed power lines, uprooted trees, and roads made impassable by debris. The agricultural sector suffered losses totaling US$ 4.5 million, and an estimated US$ 18.5 million was needed to repair or replace houses.

Barbados possesses many of the inherent economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities that are associated with Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Among others, these include susceptibility to natural disasters and extreme events; a small population; limited land and natural resource base; and a small open economy. These will be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change and, if left unchecked, undermine the sustainable development gains that have been achieved over the course of the countrys history.

Barbados is experiencing more extreme weather events, as well as more subtle changes to temperature and precipitation patterns. Observations confirm that temperatures are rising, the frequency of extreme weather events are increasing, sea levels are rising and coral bleaching events are more frequent. These observations are consistent with climate change projections for the Caribbean region.

s, Barbados places prominence on adapting to the effects of climate change. The changing conditions will see a noticeable impact on the limited availability of fresh water, agricultural productivity, increased land degradation and reduced fish stocks caused by the migration of fish to cooler waters beyond the Caribbean region. The combination of reducing precipitation and salt water intrusion from sea level rise will compound the issue of insufficient water availability (through salinization of ground water aquifers), further affecting the productivity of both agriculture and fisheries.

Barbados will face indirect climate-related impacts including drought, flooding, and storms (physical damage), increased pest outbreaks, the spread of invasive species, the increased probability for the occurrence of vector borne and heat related illnesses and the destruction of key ecosystems which all threaten national productivity and may undermine the potential for real growth. With the majority of Barbados population and its economic activities located within its narrow coastal zone, this area is undeniably one of the island's most valuable economic and social assets. Sea level rise, storm surges and inundation, in addition to the increased frequency in tropical storms, will present direct challenges to the coastal zone, in particular to the tourism sector in terms of potential loss and damage to key infrastructure.

As a small island developing state (SIDS) that is extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and cognizant of the implications for its economic, social and environmental sectors, the Government of Barbados (GOB) ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and the Kyoto Protocol in 2000. Since then, Barbados has actively participated in the Conference of Parties (COP) and related inter-sessional meetings of the UNFCCC, as well as undertaken a variety of measures that fit with the overarching objective of the Convention and intended to build national resilience to the challenges imposed by climate change. Accordingly, with the recognition of the need for an urgent global response to address the adverse impacts of climate change, the GOB is expecting the agreed and adopted outcome of the 21st COP of the UNFCCC to be an internationally legally-binding agreement under the Convention that is in the form of a protocol and is applicable to all Parties.

Barbados was the only country in the Western Hemisphere chosen to participate in the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Project, Piloting Climate Change Adaptation to Protect Human Health, covering the years 2010 to 2014. The project emphasizes water scarcity and its impact on the health of the population, and measures what must be done to lessen that impact. The Climate Change Unit that was established within the Ministry of Health demonstrates the islands commitment to the GEF project.





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