Climate change in the Wider Caribbean

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Wider Caribbean Regional Climate Projections Mapping Tool
© WWF/Marianne Fish

Climate change may affect sea turtles through changing conditions at their nesting beaches. Increasing temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns could both affect nesting success in the future. Climate changes will not be uniform across the globe because they are influenced by local physical conditions and processes and it is therefore important to look at projections from regional climate models.

Projections of changes in temperature and precipitation for the Caribbean have been developed by the PRECIS-CARIBE project, a multi-institutional effort to provide climate projections for the Wider Caribbean. The project is using PRECIS (Providing Regional Climates for Impact Studies), a PC-based regional climate model developed by the Hadley Centre, UK, which can be applied to any area of the globe to generate detailed climate change projections. The Instituto de Meteorología de la República de Cuba (INSMET) provides public access to the results of this project and data on precipitation, surface temperature and humidity, amongst other variables, can be accessed online and downloaded from the project’s website http:// precis.insmet.cu/Precis-Caribe.htm.

The projections presented in the map and available from the PRECIS-CARIBE website were generated from simulations developed for two “time periods”, 1961-90 and 2071-2100 (using the SRES A2 emissions scenario). The results are presented as the difference between the baseline control period (1961-1990) and the period simulated (2071-2100). Projections for the period between 2010 and 2070 and for the B1 emissions scenario are also available, having been estimated using scaling factors from global climate models. Projections presented here are for two months (January and July, roughly corresponding to the dry and wet seasons) in three years (2020, 2050 and 2099).

 

 / ©: WWF/Jeffrey Muñoz
IPCC emissions scenarios
© WWF/Jeffrey Muñoz

Emissions scenarios

Climate projections depend on future changes in greenhouse gas emissions. It is difficult to predict exactly how society will react to the threat of climate change and to take this uncertainty into account, climate projections are based on a number of different future scenarios. There are forty different scenarios divided into four scenario families depending on the emissions they generate: A1 (High emissions), A2 (Medium to high), B2 (Low to Medium), B1 (Low).

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