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An International Research and Applications Project (IRAP) Caribbean Workshop Report: Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience

Technical Report

An International Research and Applications Project (IRAP) Caribbean Workshop Report: Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience

Abstract

The International Research and Application Project (IRAP) hosted a two-day workshop that followed the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF). The workshop contributed to and advanced discussions about the application and impacts of seasonal climate information. It also focused on developing partnerships for future projects that help develop regional capacity to prepare for and respond to climate risks. Interviews, focus groups, and group discussions during the workshop and preceding CariCOF explored the interrelation between the physical climate and social contexts, producing a wealth of information from which future efforts can draw.
Workshop Report
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica
Sponsored by NOAA and USAID In collaboration with CIMH
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Preface: IRAP Project
The International Research and Applications Project (IRAP), Integrating Climate
Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience, advances research
on adaptation and resilience to climate variability and change while also advancing
the application of climate services. The project supports risk management through
research-based improvements in design, development, and provision of climate
information, particularly as they contribute to national and regional development goals.
While climate information is often one of many components of risk management, limited
access, misunderstandings, and the inadequacy of existing information often cause
the information to be underused. IRAP seeks to identify opportunities, in collaboration
with local partners, to address these barriers in an iterative, end-to-end approach that is
problem and solution driven.
IRAP’s approach begins with assessments of vulnerability and networks, and the
capacity of climate information to inform decisions. Part of this process is to foster local
partners that play integral roles throughout the project. Assessment knowledge then
leads to the development of new or the modication of existing information or products
that are tailored to t user needs. After these decision support tools are put into action,
IRAP evaluates their use, further rening the product, enhancing use, and developing
best practices.
In this end-to-end approach, IRAP brings social and physical climate science expertise
to bear on the research and service, focusing on three integrated themes: climate
vulnerabilities, decision support systems, and evaluation. Identifying climate impacts at
the sub-seasonal, seasonal, and longer timescales and determining how they are either
amplied or dampened by the social conditions in which they unfold merges physical
and social sciences.
IRAP is a joint effort led by researchers at the University of Arizona (UA) and Columbia
University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). It is funded
by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID) under the NOAA International Research and
Applications Program. IRAP has a ve-year funding cycle beginning in September 2013.
IRAP has focused on the Caribbean region in 2013–2014 and will expand to South and
Southeast Asia in 2014 and West Africa in 2015.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica
Workshop Report
Cover: Varadero, Cuba. People secure a paddle boat on the
Varadero Peninsula in Cuba before a tropical storm hits the
island in early October. © iStock Photo/Vasko
Workshop participants 1
Seasonal Climate Risk
Management in the Caribbean 3
IRAP Workshop 5
Executive summary 6
Caribbean Climate 8
Vulnerability to
Climate Variability and
Change Presentations 15
Vulnerability in the Context
of Climate 16
Disaster in the Caribbean 21
Seasonal Climate Forecast
Network: An Emerging View 24
Steps Toward Identifying
Evaluation Metrics for
Caribbean Climate Services 29
Seasonal Climate Information:
Barriers and Opportunities
for future CariCOFs 31
Citations 35
Appendencies 36
Workshop Report Workshop Report
Mafoota Village, Jamaica. Farmers of this town are organized
into a cooperative and supply the hotel sector in the St. James
area. Photo credit: Francesco Fiondella (IRI).
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Mea Halperin, IRI
Sector-based break-out session.
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May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 2
Workshop Report Workshop Report
»Anguilla 1
»Antigua 1
»Aruba 1
»Barbados 10
»Belize 2
»British Virgin Islands 1
»Cayman 1
»Costa Rica 2
»Cuba 1
»Curacao 1
»Dominica 2
»Fiji 1
»Grenada 2
»Guyana 3
»Jamaica 14
»Martinique 1
»Montserrat 1
»Panama 1
»Puerto Rico 1
»St. Kitts 1
»St. Lucia 3
»St. Maarten 1
»St. Vincent 2
»Suriname 1
»Tonga 1
»Trinidad 4
»Turks and Caicos 1
»USA 25
Participating Countries
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Seasonal Climate Risk Management in the Caribbean
Hurricanes and drought are a few climate-related events that routinely cause extensive damage
in the Caribbean. In 2010, for example, the most severe drought in 50 years reduced crop
production, increased brush res, and led to widespread water shortages across many islands1.
That event also revitalized interest in showcasing seasonal climate information to help decision
makers better understand the relative chances that extreme climate events would occur in
upcoming months.
Would the presentation and discussion of probabilistic drought outlooks and other contextual
information have reduced damages caused by the 2010 drought? Could climate information help
Caribbean farmers, disaster managers, health workers, and others be more prepared for future
events?
The answers to these questions have shades of grey. In some cases, decision makers need more
denitive information than what can be produced, while the existing information would be sufcient
during other times if it were slightly modied. The nuances reinforce the need for dialog between
producers and consumers of climate information and have become driving forces to restart the
Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF).
The CariCOF has been held each year since 2012, resuming after a hiatus dating to the late
1990s. The forum brings together national and regional meteorological (met) service professionals
and decision makers to produce and discuss seasonal climate forecasts issued for June–August
and September–November. It also has become a test bed for innovative climate decision-support
tools as well as an opportunity to assess stakeholder needs and strengthen met service and
stakeholder networks.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 4
Workshop Report
Reections on the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/102635036
2014 Climate Outlook Forum
On May 28, 86 participants from 27 countries convened in Kingston, Jamaica, for the 2014
CariCOF (Appendix 1-3), which was the largest CariCOF to date. For the rst time, experimental
outlooks for temperature and drought were presented along with the traditional seasonal
precipitation forecast. The drought forecasts utilized the Climate Predictability Tool (CPT)
developed by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and generated at
a met service workshop during the two days prior to CariCOF. Participants also discussed the
benets and application of sub-seasonal forecasts.
Lower-than-average temperatures in parts
of the Atlantic Ocean and the expectation
that El Niño would strengthen inuenced
the consensus precipitation forecast.
The forecast called for general higher
probabilities of below-average rainfall
and above-average temperature for the
June–August (Figure 1) and September–
November seasons. On the surface,
forecasts for below-average rainfall
boded well for reduced climate risks like
oods, but a lack of rain is also a major
concern for water supply and tourism, and
it also only takes one hurricane to cause
widespread and severe damage. With
climate risk in the region ever present,
resiliency to climate—the ability to
minimize damage and bounce back from
it—requires combining knowledge of the
social inuences that amplify or dampen
the climate event with forecasts and other
decision-support tools.
Figure 1. Precipitation outlook for the June–August
period prepared for the CariCOF. Recent seasonal climate
forecast for the Caribbean can be accessed from the
Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
http://www.cimh.edu.bb/?p=precipoutlook
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Goals and Activities of the IRAP Workshop
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/99169676
IRAP Workshop
Following the CariCOF, the IRAP project team facilitated a two-day workshop to explore links
between the social and physical aspects of climate risk, building upon the forecast and its
related discussions from the CariCOF. The workshop included presentations, discussions, and
participatory exercises focused on the themes of climate vulnerability, social networks, regional
disasters, and the evaluation of climate information. The workshop launched the IRAP project’s
engagement in the region and had the following objectives:
1. Advance the understanding of how climate information can inform regional risk management
2. Inform the development of new climate-related decision-support tools, analyses, and future
pilot research projects
3. Form new partnerships
In the following report, we summarize the activities from the workshop. We draw principally upon
information collected at the event. This includes 11 interviews with CariCOF and IRAP workshop
participants; a “World Café” group discussion related to climate vulnerability; a participatory
social network mapping exercise; discussions on past Caribbean disasters; a focus group and
subsequent plenary discussion on evaluating the provision and use of climate information; and
a post-event workshop survey. In some cases, the IRAP team followed up with participants after
the CariCOF. This report also supplements the data collected at the workshop with information in
published reports.
The information presented here serves as a foundation for future analysis and engagement from
which IRAP and CariCOF initiatives can continue to grow.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 6
Workshop Report Workshop Report
Executive Summary
The International Research and Application Project (IRAP) hosted a two-day workshop that
followed the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF). The workshop contributed to and
advanced discussions about the application and impacts of seasonal climate information. It also
focused on developing partnerships for future projects that help develop regional capacity to
prepare for and respond to climate risks. Interviews, focus groups, and group discussions during
the workshop and preceding CariCOF explored the interrelation between the physical climate
and social contexts, producing a wealth of information from which future efforts can draw. Below
summarizes some of the key insights highlighted by participants during the activities.
Climate Vulnerability
»Climate vulnerability, measured by sensitivity and adaptive capacity, varies by country and is
related to levels of public support and investment in climate information services and early
warning systems. It also varies according to the inherent community capacity to protect itself
and build and access social capital.
»People rely on social capital to respond and recover from extreme events regardless of wealth
and geographic location. The relationship between climate information and collective actions
that reduce climate vulnerability is seen as a key research gap.
»While extreme climatic events affect the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable, they
also provide opportunities for transformation. New forms of technology such as water storage
devices and information sharing can enhance the ability to cope with future events.
Seasonal Climate Forecast Communication Networks
»Many participants provided supplemental information to accompany the seasonal climate
forecasts. These knowledge-brokering efforts suggest that future workshops should focus on
identifying and bolstering the ability to provide contextual information.
Mea Halperin, IRI
Members of the University of Arizona IRAP team.
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Disasters
»While hurricane early warning systems provide information a few days in advance, providing
forecasts at longer-lead time scales can help people prepare more than a few days in advance.
»Disaster preparedness benets from timely communication between sectors, but that
communication is not always present. Participants commented that they did not issue warnings in
some situations because they were waiting for information from the meteorological services or the
water sector. Similarly, the water and agricultural sectors commented that they did not take actions
because they were waiting on warnings from disaster managers.
Evaluation
»Participants identied indicators that could help measure progress in meeting the goals of climate
information services. These indicators fell into seven categories, including capacity building;
forecast quality; customized products; understanding, communication, and information use;
demand for climate information; general reporting metrics; and climate-related policies.
»Discussions highlighted that sufcient data collection will require synchronized and consistent
monitoring across space and time; participants were concerned about the resources needed to
accomplish this.
Opportunities for Future CariCOFs
»The traditional tercile forecasts are difcult to interpret and have led to underuse in the past;
different forecasts and new ways of communicating existing seasonal outlooks can help improve
climate information access and use.
»Meetings that bring together meteorological service professions and sectoral stakeholders provide
important knowledge transfer that can help meteorological services better provide relevant
information.
»Continued emphasis on training at the CariCOF will help build technical and institutional capacities
in the meteorological services to provide climate and weather information.
»Convening national CariCOFs that train and develop decision support systems for specic sectors
can help enhance the use of climate information in decision making at the national and local levels.
Select Research Gaps
»Case studies that evaluate the outcomes of an end-to-end climate service approach, where
assessments lead to iterative information development followed by evaluation are necessary to
inform climate risk management research and practice.
»The most effective combination of public policy (such as climate services and post-hurricane
rebuilding efforts) and community responses that build resilience appears not to have been
systematically studied.
»There is limited understanding of the role of information brokers within the seasonal climate
communication network and how their activities inuence climate information use.
»Developing an understanding of how drought forecasts and sub-seasonal forecasts (forecasts
within a 10-day to several months window) can improve decision making.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 8
Workshop Report
Learning to Apply Climate Information in Agriculture. Elizabeth Johnson, Inter-American
Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/101654958
Caribbean Climate
The Caribbean climate exhibits a pronounced seasonal cycle in precipitation. The wet season
occurs between about May and December, and the climate is relatively dry between December
and May. The exception is in the Guianas—Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana—which has
two rainy seasons: one in May—July and another in November—January. The hurricane season
also coincides with the wet season.
Temperatures are relatively constant throughout the year. The temperatures vary within less than
2°C range about the annual mean in southern Caribbean regions to within 5°C range at high
elevations in northern regions.
The physical drivers of the seasonality of rainfall in the Caribbean relate to the movement of the
Hadley Cell and the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ moves from between 2
and 5°N latitude in March to between 12 and 15°N latitude in September. When the ITCZ moves
over a region, rain is more frequent. In the Guianas, the two peaks in the rainfall mentioned above
occur with the passage of the ITCZ. The hurricane season peaks in September and October,
when the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are warmest and the ITCZ is at its most northerly
position.
Slower evolving SSTs patterns in the tropical Pacic Oceans and the Atlantic Ocean also inuence
seasonal rainfall and hurricanes. However, year-to-year variability contributes more to the total
explained variance of extreme rainfall (as measured by the 95th percentile) than longer-scale
variability. For example, 50 and 80 percent of the total variance of extreme precipitation observed
in the historical record is explained by year-to-year variability, which includes variability caused
by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), while decadal changes explain most of the remaining
variance (Figure 2). Trends in extreme precipitation, on the other hand, account for a relatively
small portion of the total extreme precipitation variability. In other precipitation variables, small
positive trends have been found in annual total precipitation, daily intensity, maximum number of
consecutive dry days, and heavy rainfall events; increasing temperature trends have been more
consistent and observed in extreme high temperatures and while fewer cool days, among other
temperature indices2.
9
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Figure 2. The total variability in extreme precipitation is largely explained by year-to-year precipitation changes (top gure) and
changes over decadal periods middle gure). Trends explain a small portion of the total variance (bottom gure). Figure created
by Angel Muñoz, IRI.
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
Variance Explained
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 10
Workshop Report Workshop Report
A History of the CariCOF in 90 Seconds. Cedric Van Meerbeeck, Caribbean Institute for
Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/101654958
A Brief History of the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum
The research team interviewed 11 CariCOF participants, recording their perceptions and recollections of past CariCOFs and
COFs from other regions. Interviewees ranged from veteran to rst-time CariCOF participants and represented a variety of
institutions, including the IRI, CIMH, national met services, and regional agricultural organizations. The following is a concise
history of the CariCOF, drawing largely from the interviews but also from reports and scholarly journals.
In 1982–83, the strongest El Niño event to date caused widespread loss of life and property
around the globe. The extensive damages helped fuel efforts to better understand the physical
mechanisms of the ENSO phenomena. Increased research, using a newly installed near real-time
ENSO observing system, ultimately led to the development of predictive models that boosted the
accuracy of seasonal climate forecasts. With better forecasts and increased awareness of ENSO
impacts, demand for seasonal climate information increased3.
By the mid-1990s, seasonal climate forecasts were in experimental phases in many regions.
In Africa, it was common to have several organizations forecasting the climate, and they often
produced dissimilar outlooks as a consequence of different models and interpretations of the
climate. The discrepancies in the forecasts, in turn, led to confusion in the media and other
consumers and ultimately engendered a process for reconciling the forecasts.
In 1996 at a meeting in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, participants discussed a process to develop
a consensus forecast, laying the foundation for the Climate Outlook Forums (COFS) that have
become a main mechanism for creating, discussing, and disseminating seasonal climate
information in Africa and abroad. The COF objectives extended beyond creating a regional
consensus and included building regional capacity and advancing the science of forecasting.
Because the COFs were regional, involving representatives from numerous countries, consensus
was reached through negotiation that was sensitive to cultural differences and institutional
relationships.
At the end of 1997, the rst COFs occurred in southern Africa (Zimbabwe and Namibia), Southeast
Asia (Thailand), and South America (Peru and Montevideo). Each COF was unique, generally
consisting of three components: the production of the seasonal climate forecast, a workshop with
social scientists, and a formal conference in which the forecast was presented to regional decision
makers.
Coincidentally, the rst COFs were convened during an El Niño, one that was stronger than
the 1982–83 event and remains the strongest and most destructive on record. As the El Niño
11
9:00-10:50 2013 and 2014 wet season climate outlooks
of rainfall, temperature, and hurricanes:
presentationsand discussions
11:10-12:30 Caribbean climate impacts database:
presentation and discussion
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30- 1:45 User feedback on the CariCOF climate
outlooks
1:45-3:20 Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI)
forecasting to support drought early
warning:presentation and discussion
3:20-3:40 Break
3:40-4:30 Climate information at the sub-seasonal
scale:presentation and discussion
4:30-5:00 Future CariCOFs
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
The Caribbean Regional Climate
Outlook Forum (CariCOF)
unfolded, demand for trustworthy information on current and projected impacts as well as best
estimates for El Niño’s evolution increased across the globe. Using the COFs in late 1997 as a
template, several other regions, including in the Caribbean, convened forums in 1998 during the
waning stages of the El Niño. These COFs were focused less on creating a consensus forecast
and more on helping meteorological services and decision makers better understand and prepare
for climate risks.
It became evident early on that seasonal climate forecast communication and use were nuanced.
In many cases, potential decision makers were unable to use the forecasts for numerous reasons,
including mismatches in the spatial scale of the information presented and difculty reconciling
forecasts probabilities with decisions. In a few cases, capacity existed to use the information but
other challenges arose. One of the more noteworthy lessons from the early COFs occurred in Peru
in 1997. Participants there revealed that an El Niño forecast would enable large-scale producers
in the shing industry to respond in ways that hurt small-scale artisanal shing. Concern that the
forecast would have greater consequences than the climate impact itself highlighted the need
for awareness of competing interests, unequal capacity to respond, equitable access, and other
conditions that shaped forecast use4. Despite these challenges, COFs have helped decision
makers in the water, disaster management, health, and agriculture sectors better understand
climate risk5.
The COFs have expanded since 1997 and now are routinely organized in 15 regions, including
the Caribbean. However, the have each evolved differently.
In the Caribbean, the rst COF (CariCOF) was held in March 1998, but demand for the information
and stakeholder engagement were minimal. In addition, capacity within countries to inform the
production of the regional forecasts was insufcient. These constraints prevented ongoing support
for the forums, and the CariCOF halted after only a few forums.
12
Workshop Report
Interest in a CariCOF resurfaced in 2010, partly in response to the worst drought in 50 years,
which affected many islands, particularly in the eastern Caribbean. The drought catalyzed
regional interest in seasonal climate information at a time when the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO) was eager to increase access to climate information and support COFs,
which the WMO perceived as being successful at integrating climate information into risk
management. A meeting that year in Barbados involving the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology
and Hydrology (CIMH), Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC), the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), IRI, the WMO and other regional stakeholder
set in motion plans to reinitiate the CariCOF. In 2012, the rst CariCOF in more than a decade was
convened in March prior to the wet season, and one has occurred in each subsequent year. The
CariCOF rotates the location of the forums to engage more people, particularly decision makers
at more local levels that do not have opportunities to attend forums abroad. The event can also
strengthen institutional relationships between host country meteorological services and other local
organizations.
Despite being funding by external donors, the CariCOF is a regionally directed process. The
CIMH acts as lead coordinator, with participation from many of the Caribbean’s meteorological
services. This leadership has helped the forecast process utilize regional data and expertise;
regional insight can make important contributions when climate conditions make seasonal
forcasting more challenging.
The CariCOF also prioritizes stakeholder input to inform the development of new decision-
support tools. This is facilitated in part through forums that bring together meteorological
service professionals and other decision makers. Stakeholder engagement helps expose the
meteorological services to climate impacts and information needs from a diversity of communities.
Like the original COFs in the late 1990s, the emphasis of the recent CariCOFs remains on
seasonal climate forecasting and capacity building. However, interest is increasing in building
awareness and understanding of social vulnerability and in assessing how these conditions can
either amplify or dampen seasonal climate risk. Integrating the social and physical aspects of
climate risk will become a component of future CariCOFs.
Mafoota Village, Jamaica.
Francesco Fiondella, IRI
13
Participants suggested ways to measure the impacts of
climate services, pasting their thoughts on “stickies” during
day two’s activities. Photo credit: Elisabeth Gawthrop (IRI).
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 14
Workshop Report
Thursday, May 29, 2014
8:30-9:00 Reception
9:00-9:30 Opening Remarks
9:30-10:00 Introduction of
IRAP Project and Goals of
Workshop
10:00-10:15 Break
10:15-11:45 Vulnerability
to Climate Variability and
Change Presentations
11:45-12:15 Discussion
12:15-1:15 Lunch
1:15-2:45 Climate
Vulnerability: World Cafe
Exercise
2:45-3:00 Break
3:00-5:00 Disasters
Preparedness in the
Caribbean Exercise
irap workshop
Day 1
15
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Vulnerability to Climate Variability and
Change Presentations
Presentation List
Session Title Presenter URL
Vulnerability to Climate Variability and Change
Summary of Seasonal
Climate Impacts
Discussed in Recent COFs
Adrian Trotman, Caribbean
Institute of Meteorology
and Hydrology, Barbados
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
AdrianTrotman_IRAP-
Workshop_29May14.pdf
Impacts of Longer-term
Climate Changes in the
Caribbean Region
Lisa Goddard, International
Research Institute for
Climate and Society, USA
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
LisaGoddard_IRAP-
Workshop_29May14.pdf
Climate Vulnerability
Assessment: What Is It
and How Do We Use It
Jim Buizer, University of
Arizona, USA
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
JimBuizer_IRAP-
Workshop_30May14.pdf
Geographies of
Vulnerability to Climate
Variability and Change:
Case Studies of Selected
Farming Communities in
Jamaica
Kevon Rhiney, University of
West Indies, Jamaica
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
KevonRhiney_IRAP-
Workshop_29May14.pdf
Social/Economic Drivers
Of Vulnerability In The
Caribbean
Paulette Bynoe, University
of Guyana, Guyana
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
PauletteBynoe_IRAP-
Workshop_29May14.pdf
Local Caribbean Projects
IWCAM Demonstration
Projects Watershed-based
Approaches for Improved
Environmental Health and
Agricultural Land Planning
Christopher Cox,
Caribbean Public Health
Agency, Trinidad and
Tobago
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
ChristopherCox_IRAP-
Workshop_30May14.pdf
Climate Change
Adaptation Activity in
Jeffrey Town Jamaica, with
particular emphasis on
Agriculture
Ivy Gordon, Jeffrey Town
Farmers Association,
Jamaica
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
IvyGordon_IRAP-
Workshop_30May14.pdf
Climate Sensitive-related
Community Projects
Ottis Joslyn, Caribbean
Community Climate
Change Center, Belize
http://irap.iri.columbia.edu/
wp-content/uploads/2014/06/
OttisJoslyn_IRAP-
Workshop_30May14.pdf
Elisabeth Gawthrop, IRI
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 16
Workshop Report
Vulnerability in the Context of Climate
Many social systems in the Caribbean such as households, communities, sectors, or countries
experience the impact of climate variability and change. Some groups, however, experience more
than others as a result of three interacting factors: the severity of the climate event, including
its duration, timing, and geographic location; the preparedness of the social system to absorb
or minimize the impacts; and the capacity of the social system to recover to a pre-event stage.
These factors are referred to as exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity and together dene
a system’s vulnerability6. Higher levels of exposure and sensitivity increase vulnerability, while
greater adaptive capacity lowers it. The sum of these factors leads to differences in vulnerability
across geographic regions.
Assessing vulnerability helps integrate the physical and social components of climate risk and can
provide insights about who is at risk, where the risk is greatest, and what risks are most harmful.
Understanding vulnerability also helps highlight strategies to better prepare for and respond to the
risks.
To better understand vulnerability in the Caribbean, the IRAP project conducted a background
literature review prior to the workshop and a participatory “World Café” discussion session during
the workshop. The literature review helped identify areas where understanding of vulnerability is
robust or lacking, the World Café discussion session examined in more detail the perceptions of
vulnerability of those living in the region. The discussion session also enhanced the participants’
understanding of Caribbean vulnerability, provided an initial assessment of regional vulnerability
to help inform an IRAP research agenda; and enabled participants to engage, reect, and tell
stories from their experiences.
Literature Review of Caribbean Vulnerability
The literature review focused on the state of knowledge of vulnerability in three Caribbean
countries: Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. We selected these countries as a
starting point because many documents on vulnerability in these countries exist and these nations
reected the demographic, climatic, and economic diversity across the Caribbean. The reviewed
documents primarily consisted of reports generated by governmental, non-governmental, and
other organizations in the region (see Appendix 4). Academic publications and other relevant
documents would contribute to a more complete review.
The reports focused predominantly on the physical and economic impacts of climate variability
and change. They highlighted the anticipated impacts to agriculture and coastal regions using
crop models and sea level rise projections. The economic impacts to the key sectors of tourism,
agriculture, and national infrastructure also were well represented in the reports. Most of the
research was conducted sectorally at the country scale and was often driven by available data
from other reports; the collection of new, primary data was less frequent than the use of existing
information.
We also identied some knowledge gaps, including a lack of research characterizing vulnerability
at the scale of individuals and households. Research addressing the interrelationship between
sectors also was largely absent. Within agriculture, for example, climate forecasting and crop
modeling have provided insights into impacts on the banana crop but not on the banana farmer to
any large extent. Similarly, the reports reviewed did not address the different impacts experienced
by the farm owner compared to the seasonal farm worker. Finally, the outcomes to an individual
or household hinge in part on local factors such as politics, entitlements, resource access, age,
gender, and culture. The literature reviewed lacked an integrated view of these factors and also
lacked integration with physical climate risks. Moreover, the most effective combination of public
policy, such as climate services and post-hurricane rebuilding efforts, and community responses
that build resilience does not appears to have been systematically studied.
17
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
World Café: Participant Discussions During the Workshop
The diversity of participants at the workshop enabled a discussion of vulnerability from multiple
perspectives. To facilitate group dialogs, we utilized the World Café method to address four
progressive questions (Table 1). The World Café method has been used in diverse settings to
build knowledge and networks by fostering conversations that explores challenging questions.
The small groups provide a comfortable setting to share information, and participants are
encouraged to cross-pollinate ideas and experiences by periodically moving between groups. A
more thorough description of the method is found in Alexander et al. (2004)7.
Table 1
World Café Discussion Questions
1. Considering the seasonal forecasts presented at the COF, what physical impacts do you
anticipate? What will you do differently in your job and why?
2. Thinking of a family with limited resources, how does that family experience a severe
climate event (drought, hurricane, etc.) and what do they do to overcome the event?
3. Thinking of a well-off family, how does that family experience a severe climate event
(drought, hurricane, etc.) and what do they do to overcome the event?
4. Think about sources of support before, during, and after a severe climate event (hurricane,
drought, etc.). How is that “support” provided by different organizations?
About six to eight participants sat at each table and discussed a question for 15 minutes. At the
end of the each discussion, participants switched tables to address the next question. Each table
had a facilitator/scribe who helped guide the conversation. They also recorded salient aspects of
the discussion, attributing responses to geographic locations.
Elisabeth Gawthrop, IRI
Lisa Goddard, Director of the IRI and co-principal investigator of IRAP, and Walter Baethgen of the IRI..
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 18
Workshop Report
World Café Discussion Themes
We synthesized the notes from the discussion session into the following conclusions:
»Physical vulnerability is geographically diverse as a consequence of the hazard frequency and
physiographic character of the country (i.e., topography); hurricanes, oods, and droughts
were the most frequently cited physical climate risk.
»Preparation for an extreme event often occurs only within a few days of the event.
»Drought impacts relate to agriculture productivity, health effects, and water security.
»Extreme events, even if localized to a few countries, affect regional food prices by disrupting
traded food supplies within the Caribbean region.
»The level of vulnerability as measured by sensitivity and adaptive capacity varies by country
according to levels of public support and investment, including climate information services
and early warning systems. It also varies according to the inherent community capacity to
protect itself and build and access social capital.
»Different national and local capacities to prepare for and respond to extreme events relate to
differential access to information, insurance, remittances, and social capital; household assets
such as water tanks and generators; and the ability to move or leave an island. National and
international resources such as road maintenance, public safety, and external aid also can
help improve responses and reduce vulnerability.
»People rely on social capital to respond and recover from extreme events regardless of wealth
and geographic location; there is some belief that poorer communities rely more heavily
on social capital, and as a result of “banding together,” these communities may have more
functional social networks and community resources.
»While extreme climatic events affect the livelihoods of the poor and most vulnerable, they
also provide opportunities for transformation. New forms of technology such as water storage
devices and of social interaction that includes information sharing can enhance the ability to
cope with future events.
»Key national-level vulnerability indicators relate to the capacity to prepare for and respond
to an extreme event by, for example, pre-positioning resources and quickly reestablishing
transportation and information connectivity. Key household-level vulnerability indicators relate
to access to water storage tanks and electricity generators.
Soa Martinez, IRI
19
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 20
Workshop Report
Friday, May 30, 2014
8:30-9:00 Reception
9:00-10:45 Seasonal
Forecast Social Network
Mapping Exercise
10:45-11:00 break
11:00-12:30 Evaluation
Metrics Discussion
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-3:00 Presentations on
Caribbean Projects Related
to Climate Risks
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-5:00 Next Steps
irap workshop
Day 2
21
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Disasters in the Caribbean
The societal impacts of climate changes are felt largely through extreme events that escalate into
disasters. Hurricanes, oods, and drought routinely strike Caribbean islands, and the frequency
and/or intensity of these events is expected to increase in the future18. While climate information
has the potential to help improve disaster management19, the extent to which it helps minimize
damage requires understanding the types of climate events that cause harm and the nuances of
preparedness actions, including their constraints, timing, and scale. This information, in turn, can
inform the development of new climate products and the modication of existing ones.
Discussion Topics
The IRAP project facilitated three small-group discussions in which participants discussed their
past experiences with disasters. About 29 people participated, representing most Caribbean
countries and predominantly the health, water, agriculture, meteorological service, and disaster
management sectors. The discussions were guided by a series of questions that helped reveal
how disaster managers use climate information, the risk reduction actions often taken, and the
opportunities and constraints of those actions (Table 2).
Table 2
Questions Disc. Groups
Divided By
»What were the worst years in the past several decades?
»Why were these years the worst?
»What impacts were felt?
Geographic region*
»Do some disasters affect your sector more than other kinds of
disasters?
»What preparedness actions did you take in the three worst disasters?
»What preparedness actions would you have liked to have taken?
»Were the worst years bad because you weren’t prepared for the
climate disaster or because of the intensity of the climatic event?
»How would these preparedness mentions have improved the ability to
respond and recover from the actual disaster?
Sector
»When did you nd out about the worst disaster?
»What forecasts would be useful for you to prepare for events in the
future?
Sector
*Central: Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Eastern: Anguilla, Virgin Islands, St. Kitts-
Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua, and Barbuda; North Western: The Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, and Jamaica;
Southern: Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
In the rst discussion, participants identied, according to their own perception, the three worst
disasters they experienced in the past several decades. They then discussed those disasters
as a group, commenting on the type of information that was issued before and during the event,
preparedness actions that were taken, and the events’ impacts.
In the second discussion, participants noted the three main preparedness actions taken during
these events as well as actions they would liked to have implemented. This discussion was framed
by asking the participants to consider how advanced warnings, information about the intensity of
the event, and access to other climate information altered their actions.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 22
Workshop Report
Finally, for the worst disaster identied, participants discussed when they realized the disaster
was happening and the climate information they would have liked to have had for this event. They
also discussed the ramications of receiving a climate forecast that did not turn out as expected.
Common Preparedness Actions and Barriers
Participants most often reported hurricanes as the worst disaster, followed by oods and droughts
(Figure 4a). The groups commonly stated that during many of these disasters, warnings were
not received or were not received in time to prepare adequately. Participants noted that legal
and policy frameworks seem to impede immediate release of watches and warnings through
the media. Delayed warnings from the meteorological services or the water sector prevented
other organizations from issuing warnings in some instances. Similarly, the water and agricultural
sectors commented that they did not take actions because they were waiting on a warning from
the disaster management sector. This suggests that improving forecasting dissemination, access,
and lead time may help people better prepare for disasters. Participants also listed other barriers,
including the lack of mandatory evacuations for residents in at-risk areas and lack of water
rationing at early stages of drought.
Figure 4a. The number of times participants identied a given disaster as the worst disaster
23
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Participants noted that the most common preparedness action was to follow or issue warnings
about a disaster (Figure 4b). On the surface, this appears to conict with statements related to
not receiving adequate warnings. However, the second most common response for participants
was to do nothing, which could have been related to not receiving the forecast. It could also have
been related to the nature of the disaster. For example, the onset of a ood can be sudden, while
drought often emerges slowly and is less perceptible. Other preparedness actions reported by
participants were monitoring, securing assets, and acquiring and disseminating supplies.
Climate Information Needs
Participants suggested that improvements to existing forecasts and development of new forecasts
would help disaster management. While early warning systems exist for hurricanes, forecasts
provided with longer lead times can help set preparations in motion more than one to two days
in advance. Participants also mentioned the need for daily ood forecasts, with some requesting
forecasts that include an analog format, which would compare current events to past conditions.
Analogs can help people understand magnitude, location, and impacts of similar past events as
well as preparedness actions that worked or failed in the past. Finally, participants suggested that
integrating vulnerability into disaster risk reduction can help identify at-risk communities.
Figure 4b. The number of times participants reported completing a preparedness action during a disaster.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 24
Workshop Report
Applications of the 2014 CariCOF in the agricultural sector. Elizabeth Johnson, Inter-
American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/101654956
Seasonal Climate Forecast Network: An Emerging View
Social capital is often dened as features of social life such as networks, norms, and trust that
enable participants to act together more effectively in their pursuit of shared objectives. Because
one objective of the CariCOF is to inform climate risk management (see Evaluation Metrics for
Caribbean Climate Services, pg. 29), the character of the network in which this information travels
and transforms inuences the success of this goal. In other words, people who do not receive
the information cannot use it. And, even for those who do receive the information, it may only be
usable with modication.
We facilitated a social network mapping exercise at the workshop to highlight the connections
of the CariCOF and the ways the participants supplemented the forecasts when they shared
them with others. We focused on characterizing the networks at the organizational level. This
information helps clarify whom in the Caribbean the seasonal climate forecasts reach and
what roles stakeholders and meteorological service professionals play in communicating the
information. Since the CariCOF venue has changed for each forum since it re-initiated in 2012 in
order to involve new people (see Brief History of the CariCOF, pg. 10), the network characterized
here does not capture the entire network. Future research will increase the representation of the
network.
Social Network Analysis
Social networks are comprised of people linked to one another through relationships10, and
social network analysis (SNA) explains the achievements of individuals or groups by looking
at the linkages. SNA has been used in many disciplines, including public health to analyze the
spread of infectious diseases11, agriculture to characterize climate adaptation12, and wildland re
management to assess the inuence of key information disseminators13.
At the workshop, we adapted the participatory social network method described by Schiffer and
Hauck (2010)14. Forty attendees of the CariCOF, representing 21 countries, participated in the
two-hour mapping exercise. This subset included 24 meteorological (met) services professionals
and 16 who we classied as non-meteorologists (non-met). Participants organized themselves
into groups of between four and eight. Facilitators stationed at each table guided the participants
through three progressive sections. In part one, participants individually answered questions
related to how and with whom they will share the seasonal climate information. In part two, these
25
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
connections were mapped on a poster board placed in the center of the table; each participant
drew on the same poster board. Finally, using the map as a guide, each group discussed four
questions designed to elicit the nuances of how and why people communicate the seasonal
climate forecasts (Table 3).
Table 3
Seasonal Climate Information Network Discussion Questions
1. Does the group of people with whom you intend to communicate this year’s forecast differ
from the group of people with whom you communicated in the past, and if so, why?
2. How does the network change if the forecast is above vs. below (more drought or more
rain)? Does the number of people with whom you communicate change based on the
forecast?
3. Who is missing from the map and why? (Are there people/countries/sectors missing?)
4. What are obstacles you face in growing and enhancing your communication network
around seasonal climate information?
Preliminary Social Network Analysis Results
We combined all responses to produce a single season climate forecast network map; in
some situations, we follow up with participants after the meeting to clarify their responses. For
simplicity, Figures 5a and 5b show the networks of met service professionals and non-met service
professionals. The seasonal climate information network identied by the workshop participants
has the following key features:
»The network is centralized.
»The network has relatively low number of connections (i.e., low density).
»People and organizations tend to receive the seasonal climate forecasts from only one or a few
sources.
»Met and non-met service professionals mostly communicate within their country; they also
tend to communicate across many sectors within their respective country.
Characteristics of Centrality and Density in Climate Resilience Studies
A centralized network is characterized when one or a few organizations possess a large number
of ties15. CIMH lls this role as being the primary disseminators of the seasonal climate forecast
across a wide range of organizations and sectors. The advantages of a centralized network
are that it enables the relatively quick and efcient spread of information16 and it is effective in
forming groups and building support for action through the central actors’ abilities to prioritize
and coordinate activities. Some disadvantages of centralized networks relate to the central actors’
difculty in maintaining close contact with the many actors. Also, in highly centralized networks,
inuence can be unequal. Consequently, concerns related to legitimacy and the proper inclusion
of other actors needs to be carefully stewarded17.
Network density is dened as the number of connections per network actor. Similar to centrality, it
can have opposing effects depending on the context. For example, a high density may contribute
to the strengthening of trust between individuals and groups and may increase accessibility
to information18. On the other hand, a high density can cause individuals to adopt similar
perceptions, which can impede the incorporation of new information.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 26
Workshop Report
Information Brokers
Both met and non-met service professional communicate with diverse audiences. Met service
professionals, on average, share the seasonal climate information with about 6.2 organizations (4.6
excluding CIMH), while non-met service professionals share the forecasts with 3.8 organizations.
However, even the most valuable information may not be utilized if it is difcult to understand,
regardless of how many people it reaches. This applies to the seasonal climate forecast, which has a
history of underuse or neglect for numerous reasons, including difculty in interpreting the forecast and
being bereft of local meaning19. The discussion session, however, revealed that adding supplemental
information to the forecasts addresses these challenges. These knowledge-brokering efforts are
summarized in Table 4 and suggest that future efforts to enhance the use of seasonal forecasts should
also bolster the ability to provide contextual information.
Meteorological Service Connections
Met Services
Disaster
University
Public
Water
Health
Agriculture
Other
Tourism
Public Works
Environment
Not present at
workshop
Present at
workshop
Size of circle
proportional to #
of connections
Legend
Non-meteorological Service Connections
Met Services
Disaster
University
Public
Water
Health
Agriculture
Other
Humanitarian Aid
Public Works
Environment
Not present at
workshop
Present at
workshop
Size of circle
proportional to #
of connections
Legend
Figure 5. (a) Seasonal climate forecast communication connections for meteorological service professionals. (b) Seasonal
climate forecast communication connections for non-meteorological service professionals. Node colors correspond to different
sectors. Arrows denote the direction of the communication.
5a.
5b.
27
Group: Non Meteorological Service Professionals
Brokering Activities Number Responses Select Responses
Forecast clarication 6
»Explain legend (i.e., the meaning of above
normal)
»Write out abbreviations
»Use examples or explain terminology
»Include a simplied interpretation of what
the forecast means
»Provide information on uncertainty
Supplemental data that
puts forecast in the
context of weather and
climate variability
3
»Add data specic to country and locale
(i.e., rainfall, temperature)
»Add rainfall information
Explanation of potential
local impacts 9
»Use examples of what the forecast would
mean to farming
»Provide impacts on crops
»Include information on potential impacts for
sectors and counties
»State implications for mosquito breeding
potential
»Report impacts on environmental quality in
general
Recommendation on
preparations 8
»Provide recommendations on actions to be
taken
»Provide responses of use of forecast
information for planning
»Add information on proposed collaborative
actions to be taken between the two isles
for preparedness and mitigation planning
»Provide recommendations on required
action per sector and collectively for
preparedness and mitigation planning
»Provide recommendations on
prepositioning of resources
»Advise on expected impacts and actions to
take
Summary of current
conditions 1 »Report local eld conditions
Additional data or
information 2
»Provide information to be used in planning
and engineering
»Include previous forecast and outcomes to
compare likely impacts
Table 4
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 28
Workshop Report
Group: Meteorological Service Professionals
Brokering Activities Number Responses Select Responses
Forecast clarication 5
»Provide information on how to interpret the
information
»Include information on how to interpret and
respond
»Explain acronyms
Supplemental data that
puts forecast in the
context of weather and
climate variability
12
»Provide expected upper and lower amounts
and expected amounts during normal,
above- and below-normal seasons
»Provide monthly summaries, forecast
background, and discussion
»Provide information about the last season’s
conditions, including maximum and
minimum temperatures and rainfall
»Possibly adjust and add information to suit
our country's topography and livelihoods
»Review of the past three months' rainfall
Explanation of potential
local impacts 4
»Note how the islands would be affected
»Suggest implications of the current outlook
»Talk about likely impacts based on sectors
Recommendation on
preparations 2
»Provide advice to farming community
»Provide information on how to interpret and
respond
Summary of current
conditions 2
»Include information about accessing the
data online
»Provide SMS format and feedback
Additional data or
information 2
»Include short summary of the outlook to
newspapers
»Provide adequate headlines and take away
messages
Information brokering activities commonly identied by participants during the seasonal climate forecast network
activity.
29
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Steps Toward Identifying Evaluation Metrics for
Caribbean Climate Services
Climate services include the development, provision, and contextualization of climate-related
information to support decision making at all levels of society20. While there are examples in which
these services have enhanced economic and social well-being, there are also cases in which they
have been neglected or underused, in part because information was developed without detailed
knowledge of its use. Evaluating how climate services are applied and their outcomes can be an
instructive component of providing services that meet the needs of decision makers.
Evaluation has gained importance in climate services in recent years as burgeoning demand
for climate information has increased the importance of customizing products and effectively
allocating limited resources. Evaluation can reveal whether the outcomes of an activity satisfy
that activity’s goals. This requires not only stating the goals, but also detailing how performance
will be measured. Because the CariCOF is the main mechanism for capacity building and for
the production and disseminating of seasonal climate information, an assessment of the use
and impact of the CariCOF and its products can help inform the creation of new information and
ensure that ongoing activities do not become outdated.
The IRAP project began developing an evaluation of the CariCOF by convening a small focus
group consisting of 15 participants and then facilitating a plenary discussion with all of the
workshop participants. In both cases, the following questions were addressed:
1. What are the goals of the CariCOF and of similar climate services in this region?
2. What indicators can be used practically to measure whether these goals are being met?
Possible Goals of the CariCOF and Other Climate Services
The focus group and plenary discussion identied several potential goals of the CariCOF and
other climate services in the region (Table 5).
Table 5
Possible Goals of the CariCOF and Other Similar Climate Services
1. Develop useful outputs and products
2. Improve communication of climate information
3. Build capacity, community, and networks
4. Support evidence-based decision making
5. Improve quality and relevance of climate information used in decision making
6. Promote and inform better policies
7. Clarify when climate information should not be used in decisions
8. Reduce vulnerability and build resilience
9. Enhance livelihoods and incomes
Possible Indicators for Evaluating Climate Services
There also was general agreement among the participants about the benet of collecting
information to evaluate the provision of climate information in meeting the aforementioned goals.
Participants described several themes and their related indicators that could be used to measure
progress (Table 6). While data for some of these indicators are currently being collected, others
would require new monitoring efforts. However, the discussions also highlighted that sufcient
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 30
Workshop Report
data collection will require synchronized and consistent monitoring across space and time, and
participants were concerned about the time and resources needed to collect the information.
Table 6. Participants described themes and their related indicators that could be used to measure progress toward meeting the
goals listed in table 5.
Themes Indicators Goals Addressed
Capacity Building
»Who attends the COFs (numbers, sectors, countries,
agencies, returnees, etc.)
»Who is trained in creating, communicating, and using
outlooks
1, 2, 3, 7
Forecast Quality
»Comparisons of previous outlooks to observations
(skill, reliability)
»Condence in forecasts by COF participants 1, 3, 7
Customized Products »Number of secondary products developed that are
tailored to specic uses/sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9
Understanding,
Communication,
and Use
»Follow-up surveys of COF participants and broader
user community (did they understand products, how
did they use them, with whom did they communicate)
»Number and type of COF products presented on web,
newsletters, and media
»General public awareness of climate (analysis of media,
public opinion)
»Jobs that include climate responsibilities
»Farmers and households receiving and using climate
information
1, 2, 7, 4, 8,
Demand
»Web hits, downloads, calls to CIMH, CCCCC, etc.
»Requests to brief or consult government agencies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
General Reporting
Metrics
Data used for other evaluation or reporting purposes
that is relevant to understand climate-related outcomes,
including:
»Disaster/disease incidence, impacts, responses
»Agricultural production, food prices
»Poverty measures
»Data collection by international agencies (e.g., World
Bank)
1, 4, 5
Climate-informed
Policies
»Reports and policies that mention climate information
or risks
»Use of climate risk management tools 1, 4, 6, 8, 9
31
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Improving the CariCOF and Next Steps.
www.vimeo.com/album/2929233/video/101557388
Seasonal Climate Information: Barriers and Opportunities
for future CariCOFs
During several exercises and in the 11 interviews held, participants discussed their barriers
to using seasonal climate information. Their responses are summarized in Table 7 and are
similar to those noted elsewhere21. Some barriers are difcult to overcome, such as “other job
responsibilities” or “communicating the forecast is not part of [their] job,” which might require
hiring new personnel. Many barriers can be addressed, and those provide some guidance for
points of emphasis for future CariCOFs. For example, the comment, “both forecast communicators
and recipients may not understand how reliable the forecast is,” suggests that information on
past accuracy could help improve trust. Also, the comment that it is “difcult to answer what
the forecast means for different people” can be addressed with campaigns to document the
relevance of climate forecasts. While these activities are currently part of the CariCOF process,
they may require more focused treatment and widespread communication, especially since the
CariCOFs are convened in different locations each year and therefore do not necessarily engage
the same people.
It is worth highlighting some of the comments in more detail. They generally fell into three
categories: Capacity, Communication, and Relevance.
Capacity
Interviewees stated that the CariCOF has helped create a strong community for regional
meteorological services and has provided valuable training, especially for early career staff. For
example, it was agreed at the CariCOF to include training on sub-seasonal information next year,
with the goal of providing information on the types of weather-related outcomes that might be
expected given a probabilistic seasonal forecast. CariCOF’s continued emphasis on training will
help build technical and institutional capacities in the meteorological services. An element of these
trainings could address weather and climate monitoring limitations because, as one respondent
stated, “many countries do not have real time data, [which] is a major weakness affecting the
accuracy of the models; a lot of the countries don’t have funding allocated for weather stations,
rain gauges, etc.” Respondents also noted the challenges of limited stafng. One respondent
stated the “meteorological services in many countries can barely keep up with the weather,
and there is great difculty in adding seasonal forecasting to their duties.” This suggests that
addressing stafng issues should accompany efforts to incorporate climate forecasting into
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 32
Workshop Report Workshop Report
meteorological service portfolios. Also, the purview of some meteorological services is more
focused than others. One comment stated that in “countries where the met service is a separate
entity, I think these fulll a more broad-based function than where [met services] are set up in the
airport structure and its focus is on providing aviation services.”
Clarity and Communication
Interviewees expressed confusion and frustration with the tercile forecast system. One comment
stated: “I know for sure that certain people that we have worked with, at certain levels, particularly
if you are talking to a minister, look at the forecast and shut off. It is not obvious what to do with a
tercile forecast, especially when there isn’t a strong signal.” However, even when forecasts favor
wet or dry conditions, the format is not user friendly. One respondent pointed out “the fact that
we had the big drought in 2010 and it was clear that the product had been out there but it didn’t
grab attention and it should have; people look at it and can’t really understand it.” Because tercile
forecasts are difcult to interpret and communicate, one respondent stated: “we have to have
a communications specialist in this forum so that they can bring to us best practices in terms of
how this information can be communicated. Because what we might want to say to the people
in health you may not use the same language for the people in water, and we need that kind of
communication, risk communication, component to the forecast.” Media would also benet from
attending the forums so that they help convey risk and clarify meaning. Enhancing understanding
of the forecast can also be aided by providing supplemental information that helps contextualize it
and “translate [it] into responses.”
Relevance
Interviewees generally recognized that the CariCOF is producing and distributing useful climate
information. However, convening national COFs that train and develop decision support tools
for specic sectors can help enhance the use of climate information in decision making at the
national and local levels. Several informants noted that the regional COF is not where the strongest
dialogues between meteorological ofce and decision makers take place, in part because only
a few people from each sector are able to attend, and those who do attend might not have the
capacity to make decisions. “National COFs… draw more people into the discussion because
IRI Columbia University
33
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
[they are] at the national/local levels where the action is, where decisions are made.” National
COFs also help address limited travel funding. Moreover, a more local discussion fuels developing
new climate information services. One respondent stated: “The only way to start to tailor
[information] is to sit down with separate users [and see] what they are getting from an outlook;
how can this be extrapolated to have specic applications within agriculture, for example, and
even within agriculture towards pest management or towards irrigation.”
Table 7
Barrier Common Responses
Capacity
(job/organization limitations)
»Communicating the forecast is “not part of the job”
»Other job responsibilities, time is limited
»Lack of mechanisms within organizations to distribute and
communicate the forecast
»Lack of a communications specialist within organizations
»Limited technological capacity (e.g. website infrastructure;
data collection)
Understanding
»The public does not understand the impacts and therefore
would not act on the forecast
»Limited understanding of seasonal forecast, which limits
public and organizational buy-in
Communication
»Communicators have to be able to explain it; difculty
communicating uncertainty and probability associated with
forecast
»The tercile format is difcult to understand; media does
not understand the forecast and do not communicate them
effectively to the public
Relevance
»Difcult to make the information appropriate for recipients
»Need more information specic to each sectors so they can
communicate the impacts
»Difcult to answer what the forecast means for different
people
Trust
»The sender needs to trust the information because they are
putting their name on the line
»Both forecast communicators and recipients may not
understand how reliable the forecast is
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 34
Workshop Report
A dairy farmer heads home after participating in an interactive exercise in December 2013 to determine worst drought years with IRI
and other project partners. Photo credit: Soa Martinez (IRI).
35
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Citations
1. Ferrell, D., Trottman, A. and Cox, C. (2010) Drought Early Warning and Risk Reduction: A Case Study of
The Caribbean Drought of 2009-2010.
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region, 1961–2010. International Journal of Climatology 34(9), 2957-2971.
3. Zebiak, S.E., Orlove, B., Muñoz, Á.G., Vaughan, C., Hansen, J., Troy, T., Thomson, M.C., Lustig,
A. and Garvin, S. (2014) Investigating El Niño-Southern Oscillation and society relationships. Wiley
Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change.
4. Broad, K., Pfaff, A.P. and Glantz, M. (2002) Effective and Equitable Dissemination of Seasonal-to-
Interannual Climate Forecasts: Policy Implications from the Peruvian Fishery during El Niño 1997–98.
Climatic Change 54(4), 415-438.
5. Ogallo, L., Bessemoulin, P., Ceron, J.-P., Mason, S.J. and Connor, S.J. (2008) Adapting to climate
variability and change: the Climate Outlook Forum process. Journal of World Meteorological Organization
57 (2), 93–102.
6. Adger, W.N. (2006) Vulnerability. Global Environmental Change 16(3), 268-281.
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K.J., Plattner, G.-K., Allen, S.K., Tignor, M. and Midgley, P.M. (eds), p. 582, Cambridge, UK, and New
York, NY, USA.
9. Braman, L.M., van Aalst, M.K., Mason, S.J., Suarez, P., Ait-Chellouche, Y. and Tall, A. (2013) Climate
forecasts in disaster management: Red Cross ood operations in West Africa, 2008. Disasters 37(1).
10. Prell, C., Hubacek, K. and Reed, M. (2009) Stakeholder Analysis and Social Network Analysis in Natural
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12. Dowd, A.-M., Marshall, N., Fleming, A., Jakku, E., Gaillard, E. and Howden, M. (2014) The role of networks
in transforming Australian agriculture. Nature Clim. Change 4(7), 558-563.
13. Owen, G., McLeod, J.D., Kolden, C.A., Ferguson, D.B. and Brown, T.J. (2012) Wildre Management and
Forecasting Fire Potential: The Roles of Climate Information and Social Networks in the Southwest United
States. Weather, Climate, and Society 4(2), 90-102.
14. Schiffer, E. and Hauck, J. (2010) Net-Map: Collecting Social Network Data and Facilitating Network
Learning through Participatory Inuence Network Mapping. Field Methods 22(3), 231-249.
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There to Learn from a Structural Perspective? Ecology and Society 11(2), 8.
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Resource Management. Society & Natural Resources 22(6), 501-518.
17. Bodin, Ö. and Crona, B.I. (2009) The role of social networks in natural resource governance: What
relational patterns make a difference? Global Environmental Change 19(3), 366-374.
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There to Learn from a Structural Perspective? Ecology and Society 11(2), 8.
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knowledge use and their implications for science policy. Global Environmental Change 21(2), 680-689.
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 36
Workshop Report
Appendices
Appendix 1: Workshop Attendees Table
Name Country Organization Sector
Adrian Shaw Jamaica Jamaica Meteorological
Service Meteorology and/or climate
services
Adrian Trotman Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Andrea
Applewhaite Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Andrea Gerlak USA The University of Arizona Academic
Andrew Robertson USA Columbia University Academic
Ángel Muñoz USA Columbia University Academic
Avalon Porter Cayman Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Berny Fallas Costa Rica Instituto Costarricense de
Electricidad (ICE) Urban Planning
Candice
Ramkissoon Trinidad Caribbean Disaster
Emergengy Management
Agency (CDEMA) Disaster management
Catherine
Cumberbatch Belize Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Catherine Vaughan USA Columbia University Academic
Cavell Francis-
Rhiney Jamaica Rural Agricultural
Development Authority
(RADA) Agriculture
Cedric Van
Meerbeeck Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Christina Green USA The University of Arizona Academic
Christopher Cox St. Lucia Caribbean Public Health
Agency (CARPHA) Health
Daniel Osgood USA Columbia University Academic
David Farrell Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Denniston Fraser British Virgin
Islands Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Desiree Neverson St. Vincent Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Diana Liverman USA The University of Arizona Academic
Dianne Dormer Jamaica Caribbean Meteorological
Organization (CMO) Meteorology and/or climate
services
Donna Canterbury Guyana Guyana Water Inc. Water
Doodnauth
Ramlakhan Guyana Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Elisabeth Gawthrop USA Columbia University Academic
Elizabeth Johnson Jamaica Inter-American Institute
for Cooperation on
Agriculture (IICA) Agriculture
Fimber Frank Grenada Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Francine Webb Jamaica Rural Agricultural
Development Authority
(RADA) Agriculture
Gayle Drakes Barbados Caribbean Disaster
Emergency Management
Agency (CDEMA) Disaster management
37
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Name Country Organization Sector
Geoffrey Marshall Jamaica Jamaican Water Resource
Authority Water
Glendell DeSouza Trinidad Caribbean Meteorological
Organization (CMO) Meteorology and/or climate
services
Glenroy Brown Jamaica Jamaica Meteorological
Service Meteorology and/or climate
services
Hastin Barnes Antigua Antigua Public Utilities
Authority (APUA) Urban Planning
Ivy Gordon Jamaica Jeffrey Town Farmers Agriculture
Jacqueline Spence Jamaica Jamaica Meteorological
Service Meteorology and/or climate
services
Jean-Louis Maridet Martinique Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Jeffrey Jennings Anguilla Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Jeremy Collymore Barbados Other
Jim Buizer USA The University of Arizona Academic
Joffrey Boekhoudt Curacao Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
John Furlow USA USAID International Development
Joseph Irish Montserrat Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Junior Mathurin St. Lucia Water Risk Management
Association Water
Kelli Armstrong USA Columbia University Academic
Kendre Wilson Turks and
Caicos Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Kenneth Kerr Trinidad Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Kevon Rhiney Jamaica UWI Geography and
Geology Department Academic
Leslie Simpson Jamaica
Caribbean Agricultural
Research and
Development Institute
(CARDI)
Agriculture
Lisa Goddard USA Columbia University Academic
Lisa Kirton-Reed Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Lisa Vaughan USA National Oceanic
and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Marck Oduber Aruba Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Marieta
Hernandez-Sosa Cuba Instituto de Meteorología
(INSMET) Meteorology and/or climate
services
Mea Halperin USA Columbia University Academic
Meredith Muth USA National Oceanic
and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Michael Taylor Jamaica Department of Physics,
UWI Academic
Norville Abraham St. Vincent Caribbean Farmers’
Network (CaFAN) Agriculture
Odalys Martinez Puerto Rico Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 38
Workshop Report
Name Country Organization Sector
Ottis Joslyn Belize Caribbean Community
Climate Change Center
(CCCCC)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Patricia Ramirez Costa Rica
Comité Regional de
Recursos Hidráulicos
Sistema de la Integración
Centroamericana (CRRH-
SICA)
Water
Paulette Bynoe Guyana University of Guyana Academic
Pilar Lopez Panama Other
Richard Johnson USA The University of Arizona Academic
Rosalind Blenman Barbados Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Samantha Garvin USA Columbia University Academic
Seluvaia Finaulahi Tonga Other
Sharon Hutchinson Trinidad University of West Indies Academic
Shawn Greenaway St. Kitts St. Kitts Water Water
Shelly-Ann Cox Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Sheryl Etienne-
LeBlanc St. Maarten Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Shontelle Stoute Barbados Caribbean Institute
for Meteorology and
Hydrology
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Simon Mason USA Columbia University Academic
Sowdamini
Saraswati USA Columbia University Academic
Sukarni Mitro Suriname Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Swastika Devi Fiji Other
Sylvester St. Ville Dominica Ministry of Health Health
Tanya O’Garra USA Columbia University Academic
Tracy-Ann Hyman Jamaica University of West Indies Academic
Trevor Thompson Grenada National Oceanic
and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Vadlamani Kumar USA National Oceanic
and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Valerie Roundtree USA The University of Arizona Academic
Venantius
Descartes St. Lucia Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Vernie Marcellin-
Honore Dominica Meteorological Ofce Meteorology and/or climate
services
Walter Baethgen USA Columbia University Academic
Wasilla Thiaw USA National Oceanic
and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA)
Meteorology and/or climate
services
Wordsworth
Gordon Jamaica Jeffrey Town Farmers Agriculture
Zack Guido USA The University of Arizona Academic
39
Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Appendix 2: Sectoral Attendance
Sector Categoires Number
a. Health 2
b. Water 5
c. Tourism 0
d. Fisheries 0
e. Disaster management 2
f. Agriculture 7
g. International Development 1
h. Urban planning 2
i. Meteorology and/or climate services 38
j. Academic 25
k. Other (please specify): 4
Appendix 3: Country Attendance
Countries Number
Anguilla 1
Antigua 1
Aruba 1
Barbados 10
Belize 2
British Virgin Islands 1
Cayman 1
Costa Rica 2
Cuba 1
Curacao 1
Dominica 2
Fiji 1
Grenada 2
Guyana 3
Jamaica 14
Martinique 1
Montserrat 1
Panama 1
Puerto Rico 1
St. Kitts 1
St. Lucia 3
St. Maarten 1
St. Vincent 2
Suriname 1
Tonga 1
Trinidad 4
Turks and Caicos 1
USA 25
May 29–30, 2014 Kingston, Jamaica 40
Workshop Report
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Jamaica
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Integrating Climate Information and Decision Processes for Regional Climate Resilience in the Caribbean
Laderach, P., A. et al. (2011). Methodology: Adaptation by Agricultural Communities to Climate
Change through Participatory and Supply Chain Inclusive Management. International
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