Seasonal Drought Likely for Belize Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 31 January 2013 00:00

Earlier this month, the Climate Section of the National Meteorological Service Drought and Precipitation Statement forecasts “… Northern and Inland areas (can) expect Moderate drought to persist during the January-February-March season.” and “No drought is expected for the entire south and central coastal areas”.   It also forecasts Normal rainfall country wide during January to March 2013.  The Climate Section also reported that most of Belize experienced varying degrees of meteorological drought throughout most of the 2012 dry and the rainy seasons.

The statement provided the following details on drought during 2012:

1. Inland areas experienced  Severe Drought conditions  June to December;
2. In Northern areas Drought commenced in August and became severe September to November;
3. Coastal areas were under moderate drought conditions September to November;
4. The southern areas (near South Stann Creek) experienced serious to severe drought conditions during June to August; and
5. Extreme southern areas did not experience drought conditions.
The Climate Section defines Meteorological Drought as “…a deficiency of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually a season or more.”  Other types of drought are Hydrological, Agricultural, and Socioeconomic Droughts.

Like the small craft warnings, no one pays heed to the Meteorological Office cautions and statements, and we are surprised when there is a tragedy at sea, flood events, or there is insufficient rainfall for the dams and crops.  Maybe that Office needs to trumpet its analyses results a little louder.

The fact of the matter is that most of the time this information is available and is not incorporated in the planning processes resulting in unexpected events that can be costly.  The consequences of these events can be among others, loss of human life, damage to crops, increased water and electricity rates due to higher cost of conversion of poor quality water to potable water and lower power generation due floods and or droughts.

The Regional Project, ironically called Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change produced forecasts for the remainder of the century on Rainfall, Temperatures, and Runoff for Belize was completed around 2010.  There are other reports on the likely economic impacts of Climate Change on Tourism, Coastal Zone, Agriculture, Water Resources, etc.  The projects reports are all available, sitting on the shelves of the Climate Change Centre, the Libraries and Meteorological and Hydrological Offices.  If these reports, albeit three to five years old, were used in the economic analyses leading to the preparation of the scenarios for the operations of the dams it would have alerted the Analysts of the likelihood of the low rainfall in Belize and Mexico and the outcome may have been different. 

There is the need for the updating of these reports using new global climate analyses results to make the scenario preparations more reflective of the current and likely future situations.  Until there are new analyses and reports to replace those that exist, it behoves us to seek out these reports and to factor the information contained within into all our planning processes.  The worst that can happen is that we applied measures that we should have applied anyway and will be more costly if delayed.  These measures are called no regrets measures.

Read the Climate Section Drought Statement it may make a difference in 2013!
The reports are there, the scientists are there Use them!