Keeping Up With Climate Change

The 6th National Climate Outlook forum was held today in Belmopan. There were a number of topics discussed and a number of presentations related to weather patterns, interpreting the climate, and about the very important and useful products that the Met service provides. We dropped by and found out more.

Ronald Gordon - Climatologist
"It is a consultation between us, the met service who are the climate providers and the users which are many stakeholders, agricultural sector, the health sector, disaster management, tourism and so on. The purpose of this forum is actually for us to consult with these, our users so we can enhance products that we offer. It all comes as part of the global framework for climate services which is being promoted by the World Met Organization."

"At the met service we provide several different products in terms of outlooks. We do a one month forecast for rainfall, for temperature, we do a 3 month outlook for rainfall and temperature, we do drought monitoring, we do agro-metrological forecast so what I wanted to do in terms of presentation is to explain the products to our users so they can interpret what we are providing to them so that we they can improve their decisions in terms of planning for whatever the outcome will be."

The Smothering Heat Soon Done

And, of course, one of the topics discussed at the climate outlook forum is the dry season. It certainly has been a very dry and smouldering season which started from April and should be finishing up this month. Climatologist Ronald Gordon told us what the outlook says about all this heat.

Ronald Gordon - Climatologist
"Like I mentioned one of our products is producing the monthly temperature forecast and it is very important for us because we have different stakeholders in agriculture and tourism that want to know how hot it is going to be, it is useful for their sector and we know it is actually hot and as I mentioned the projection is showing a little lower than normal but it doesn’t mean it will be cool. If you are looking at 35 Celsius and you have 34.5 that is not much of a relief so when I say cooler than normal it doesn’t mean it will be a lot cooler than normal."

Rainy Season Downpours Won't Be Devastating

And hopefully the rainy season which picks up in June will ease temperatures a bit. But too much rain can cause flooding and loss of life and property - as the epic floods of 2008 showed. Gordon says that based on the projections we shouldn’t have to worry about devastating downpours.

Ronald Gordon - Climatologist
"In terms of the rainfall our projections for June, July, August is showing below normal rainfall for most of the region including Belize. We are also doing a projection for September, October, November but there are a lot of uncertainties so even though we are projecting normal rainfall we have to tell our users that there is a lot of uncertainty in that product but for the next 3 months most of the global modules, including the modules from the American and even the Europeans are showing that region is going to be below normal rainfall for June, July, August."

Hurricane Season Will Be Normal, Slightly Above

But whether the rains are heavy or light, one thing that all of us across these 8,867 square miles have to worry about is the hurricane season. June 1st marks the start of the season and today Chief Meteorologist Catherine Cumberbatch told us that although it looks to be normal or slightly above normal, you should always be prepared.

Catherine Cumberbatch - Chief Meteorologist
"The activity for our region in the Atlantic basin is for a normal for slightly above normal activity in term of tropical cyclone formation in our area. The norm Courtney and Paul is for 12 name storms to form and 6 of these becoming hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. This year the agents that normally monitors these activities and come up with these forecast, they are saying there will be anything between 12 to 13 to 14 so that's why the overall forecast that they are going for is for normal to slightly above normal for the 2018 Atlantic basin, and when we are talking the Atlantic basin we are talking the gulf of Mexico, north Atlantic and the Caribbean sea which includes Belize."

"We really can't say where these systems will make landfall but you know whether the season is normal, below normal or above normal, it only takes one system to cause a havoc on our country. So in all hurricane seasons we must be prepared. I advise all Belizeans that the hurricane season is coming very fast, it's only a few hours away - get your hurricane plan activated, be prepared. Listen to all the information that is coming out of the National Meteorological Service and heed to all warning and watch that is coming out of National Emergency Organization which is NEMO.”

Channel 7