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Saint Lucia - Climate

St Lucia, like all Caribbean islands, has a hot, tropical climate throughout the year, tempered by sea breezes and prevailing northeastern trade winds. The average temperature year round is between 77F (25C) and 80F (27C). The driest period on the island is from about February to May, though short showers can occur throughout the year, and the wet season is usually from June to September. The rain forest in the interior of the island receives more than double the average annual precipitation on the north and south coasts.

St. Lucia is located within the Trade Wind belt. These winds approach from directions between the east-northeast to east-south-east. Stronger, more northerly, winds are common from December to May. Average temperature is about 78o F (27oC). Relative humidity is 75%, with little variation. The islands climate is characterised by a dry season which runs from January to May, and a wet season from June to December. The hurricane season extends from late June to the end of November. The island has been hit by a number of storms and hurricanes during the last several decades. During heavy rains, flooding often occurs in low-lying areas.

As with all islands in the region, Saint Lucia is at risk of experiencing the effects of tropical storms during this time. However, Saint Lucia is fortunate for being as far south and east as it is resulting in many of the approaching storm systems not being well developed when they reach the island. More often than not low pressure systems will pass Saint Lucia as waves or depressions creating only extended periods of heavy rainfall. As they move on and continue strengthening they then become named tropical storms or hurricanes, depending on their wind speeds.

In 2010, the National Emergency Management Organization disseminated a National Emergency Plan in electronic format, which includes a contingency plan for civil unrest. Saint Lucia experiences hurricanes every three to four years. Hurricane Toms left a swath of destruction as it swept across the island in 2010 and caused 7 deaths (3 of males, 2 of females, and 2 of persons of unknown sex) and 36 injuries.

The hurricane occurred just as the economy was starting to recover from the fallout of the recession in major world markets, thus complicating the recovery process. The total cost of the damage and losses to the various sectors amounted to US$ 336.2 million. The total economic impact represented 43.4% of GDP-nine times the agricultural GDP, three times the tourism GDP, 62% of the value of goods and services exports, 19% of gross domestic investment, and 47% of the public external debt as of 31 October 2010.

The issues of climate change, energy security, and sustainable development have been central to Government policies during the period. In 2009 the government installed three photovoltaic units around the island and a small wind turbine in a rural fishing community to generate energy. The country also phased out the importation of goods containing chlorofluorocarbon one year before scheduled. In 2009, the Government began to prepare its second national communication under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

St. Lucia will be highly vulnerable to the anticipated impacts of climate change. Scientific research has indicated that these impacts are likely to include, among others:

  • The flooding and submergence of coral reefs, wetlands and coastal lowlands due to sea level rise;
  • Loss of marine and terrestrial biodiversity as a result of changes of temperature and rainfall;
  • The depletion of water supplies;
  • Reduced agricultural productivity;
  • An increase in the occurrence of pests and vectors, contagious diseases and stress-related diseases;
  • Increased coastal erosion and infrastructure damage as a result of the increased intensity of cyclonic events and storm surges.

Concern about climate change is heightened by the evidence from around the world which suggests that this phenomenon is already occurring.

The aim of Saint Lucia's National Climate Change Adaptation Policy is to foster and guide a national process of addressing the short, medium and long term effects of climate change in a co-ordinated, holistic and participatory manner in order to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, the quality of life of the people of St. Lucia, and opportunities for sustainable development are not compromised.

This policy guides the work of all Governmental, statutory, Non-governmental and Civic entities which are involved in, or which may seek to become involved in addressing Climate Change issues as they affect St. Lucia.

St. Lucias Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy is based on an acceptance that climate change is occurring and that it will continue to occur even if immediate steps are taken to reduce global warming. It is also accepted that the effects thereof are likely to have a profound, and in sum, adverse, impact on the economic, social, and environmental aspects of life in St. Lucia and other Small Island Developing States. This Policy and Strategy bears testimony to St. Lucias commitment to confronting and addressing the challenges posed by the climate change phenomenon. Although a country of limited economic, financial and technological resources, we are prepared to adopt an integrated and coordinated approach to planning for, and ameliorating the effects of, climate change.

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Page last modified: 19-07-2017 18:55:26 ZULU