“Caribbean economies, lifestyles, activities, practices and operational cycles are intricately linked to climate, making them vulnerable to its variations and/or changes” (Taylor et al. 2012)
Jamaica, has built and developed infrastructure based on the tropical climate of the region, making it vulnerable to variations in climate patterns and changes.
What does this mean for Jamaica?
Rising Sea Levels
THE CARIBSAVE CLIMATE CHANGE RISK ATLAS (CCCRA): Climate Change Risk Profile for Jamaica reports that if sea levels were to rise by 1 meter, 100% of Jamaica’s ports would be inundated (engulfed), alongside 61% of Frenchman’s Cove and Winnifred Beach and 75% of Hope Bay.
Increased Temperatures and Droughts
Extreme changes in temperature and susceptibility to water scarcity and drought should be expected, according to a presentation prepared by Dr. Michael Witter for the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica in 2007. While citing authoritative sources, Dr. Witter indicated that Jamaica will experience temperature increases from 2-3 centigrade (3.6 – 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080. This increase in temperature will cause decreased rainfall from June to August during the annual wet season: leading to increased frequencies of drought across the island.
Death of Coral Reefs
Jamaica’s coral reefs have been experiencing bleaching due to high sea surface temperatures from during the years 1987, 1989, 1990, 1998 and even today. Increased global temperature will have even more devastating impacts on the coral reefs, which protects Jamaica from coastal erosion and significant hurricane damage. A report titled Climate Change Impacts on Jamaica’s Biodiversity, published by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), found that Jamaica’s increasing sea surface temperatures of around ~2ºC caused significant bleaching and death of corals, leaving the island more vulnerable to hurricane damage, flooding and coastal erosion.
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Written by Shaquiel Ricketts, student of Campion College. Edited by Kaeonna Walters. This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program.