Experts: La Niña weather pattern may lead to uncertainty

Bridgetown – The Barbados-based Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) Wednesday said a persistent weak La Nina pattern is expected to continue during the next three months, which may drive increasing uncertainty into the seasonal rainfall forecast.

La Niña is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America. La Nina is considered to be the counterpart to El Nino, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean.

“This uncertainty points the AMJ rainfall and wet day forecast towards climatology across most of the region with equal chances for above normal, normal, and below normal probabilities,” the CariCOF said in its latest Caribbean Climate Outlook Newsletter for the period April to June this year.

It said, however, a small increase in wet spell frequency is expected for the eastern Caribbean which could lead to marginal flash flood and soil erosion potential there from May.

“Extreme wet spells for the region are expected along coastal Guyana, but are not expected to feature prominently for other locations during the upcoming season,” it added.

According to the publication, as of March 1, shorter term drought has developed in Antigua, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia, and St Vincent with moderate longer term drought developing in  northwest Bahamas, western Cuba, Dominica, southeastern Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Vincent.

Long-term drought from the end of May is predicted for Antigua, Aruba, central and southern Belize, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Lucia and might possibly develop or continue in northern parts of The Bahamas, Barbados, northern Belize, western Cuba, southern parts of The Dominican Republic, the United States Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, St. Vincent and Trinidad. (CMC)

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