Drought Continues Almost Everywhere

20 04 2019

Dale C. S. Destin |

We continue to see red almost everywhere across the Caribbean region – indicative of drought, severe in some places. The red has spread from the last blog on the subject, suggestive of the drought spreading, one may say, like a wild-fire.

Dec 2018 – Feb 2019 SPI index, characterising rainfall across the Caribbean. More red seen above than below – the last three months drier than the previous three.

Nov – Dec 2018 SPI index, characterising rainfall across the Caribbean

According to data from the latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter, over the past three months – December to February, rainfall deficits have resulted in the development or continuation of drought across many parts of the Caribbean. The few exceptions include the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the western parts of Cuba.

El Nino, warmer than usual sea surface temperature across the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, is likely to have been the main cause of the deficit in rainfall over the past three months. Regression analysis shows that El Nino normally causes negative rainfall anomalies – below normal rainfall, across much of the region, especially across the Eastern Caribbean during December to February (DJF).

Rainfall and El Nino – The gray areas indicate the places that receive below normal rainfall during an El Nino during the period December-February.

For much of the region, the Newsletter indicates just a low chance of drought-busting rainfall over the period April-June. Beyond June, there is just a slight chance of drought-busting rainfall over the period July-September. Rainfall will most likely be the scarcest across the Eastern Caribbean.

So, unfortunately, we will continue to see mostly red across the area – it is going to be another tough year for rainfall, with eastern area getting the driest end of the atmosphere.

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