Drought Early Warning Information in the Caribbean
Drought Early Warning Prior to 2009
Chen et al. (2005) noted that monitoring agricultural drought in the Caribbean was historically a case of comparing monthly and annual rainfall totals to their respective averages and monitoring biological indicators in the field, related to agricultural production. This perspective changed following, arguably, the strongest El Nino on record in 1997-1998. As a consequence of the significant impacts suffered by the region from the event and the region's lack of effective early warning and preparedness, the Caribbean and international partners formed the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (later referred to as the CariCOF) tasked with preparing 3-month precipitation outlooks for the region, indicating the probability of above- and below-normal and normal rainfall for the period and therefore an indication of drought potential.
Today, climate monitoring and forecasting has evolved beyond this, with a routine suite of tools and products geared toward decision-support and updated regularly. In addition, notable emphasis has been placed on drought monitoring and forecasting by the establishment of the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN).