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NOAA Co-Convenes Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum

July 12, 2010

palm trees in the wind

NOAA, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (supported by the Caribbean Economic Community), the Red Cross, the US Geological Survey (USGS), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) convened a workshop on re-establishing the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum (RCOF), which was held June 21-23, 2010, at the University of the West Indies, Barbados. This forum addressed potential impacts in the region for the upcoming hurricane season, coral bleaching, sea level rise issues and water resources. Participants came from over 25 countries and regional institutions including the Red Cross, USAID and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). They represented meteorology and hydrology units, water resources, agriculture, disaster management, and coastal zone units, across the Caribbean Basin. NOAA's Climate Program Office and Earth System Research Laboratory's Physical Sciences Division led the workshop design and implementation. Information on SST trends and evolution in critical regions of the Caribbean was provided by the Physical Sciences Division. Outcomes from this workshop include a detailed outlook for the upcoming season focused on Haiti, and formation of a local team to provide detailed outlooks for critical sub-regions as the hurricane season develops.

The first Caribbean RCOF was convened on May 21-22, 1998 to formulate and communicate a consensus precipitation forecast for the Caribbean for the period of June-July-August 1998. In addition, the Forum intended to identify gaps in information and technical capability; facilitate research cooperation and data exchange within and between regions, and improve coordination within the climate forecasting community.

Climate variability and change pose significant risks for the Caribbean region, making early warning information systems across climate timescales critical components to preparedness, risk reduction and adaptation. To this end, NOAA is positioned to contribute scientific expertise and state-of-the-art products and services. This particular forum has been identified by the WMO as the first to create a process for to assess potential impacts across climate variability and climate change timescales and is a prototype for future outlook fora under the Global Framework for Climate Services.

Contact: Roger Pulwarty