Regional Drought Monitoring in CARICOM

Initial regional rainfall (drought) monitoring maps were produced in April 2009 to highlight the precipitation status at the end of March 2009 on four time scales (1-, 3-, 6-, and 12-month) using both SPI and deciles (CIMH and FAO 2016; Farrell et al. 2010; Trotman et al. 2009). The different time intervals are established to reflect the fact that the duration of drought can have different sector impacts (WMO and GWP 2016). Experiences in the Caribbean have illustrated that because of the socioeconomic importance of rain-fed agriculture, the provision of drought information on 3-month time scales mitigates risks in the agricultural sector. Similarly, given the small watersheds and aquifers in the region, and the strong seasonal variability for potable water due to key economic sectors such as tourism, that provision of drought information on timescales of 6 months may be optimal. An example of the 3-month SPI is shown in Figure 20.2.

Insufficient drought impact reporting and methods for robust impact assessment have limited the region's understanding and awareness of the impacts of drought on the performance of social and economic sectors and ultimately the region's socioeconomic development. Building climate- resilient societies that mitigate such phenomena as drought requires collecting such information to enable the development and implementation of robust planning and decision-support systems.

To address this lack of information, which is increasingly being requested, CIMH created the Caribbean climate impacts database (CID) (—an open-source geospatial inventory that archives, among other things, sector-based impacts from various climate phenomena, including drought. The CID also captures (1) planning and response mechanisms used in the disaster risk management sector in the form of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and (2) rainfall impacts via a


SPI map for October 2009 to March 2010. (Courtesy of CIMH.)

reporter website that captures real-time submission of impacts that supplement drought monitoring.

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