A Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ)-produced publication on climate change is predicting that Jamaica will experience warmer, drier temperatures for the duration of the 21st century.
The document — 2012 State of the Jamaican Climate: Information for Resilience Building — an accompanying summary for policymakers, as well as the Socio-Economic Disaster Impact Assessment Handbook for Jamaica — were presented to environment minister Robert Pickersgill by the PIOJ's Acting Director General Everton McFarlane at the Ministry's New Kingston offices on March 6.
They are to be tabled in Parliament shortly and are among six produced under Phase I of the Inter-American Development Bank's (IDB) Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR), with grant funding support of US$507,000.
The 2012 State of the Jamaica Climate: Information for Resilience Building examines how and why Jamaica's climate is known to vary, how it has changed historically, and how it is likely to change toward the end of the century. It assesses sensitivity, climatology, variability, change, projections, impact and resilience.
The contents are compilations of data derived from a study undertaken by the Climate Studies Group at the University of the West Indies (UWI), which examines and outlines variations in Jamaica's weather patterns and includes climate assessments, variability, projections, and recommendations for climate change adaptability and resilience strengthening.
At the handover, noted climatologist Professor Anthony Chen said the data compiled represents the most "in-depth" study of climate change in Jamaica.
He pointed to the projections for warmer and drier weather patterns for Jamaica, and expressed hope that the study will provide a basis from which the PIOJ and other organisations can formulate projects that will enable Jamaica to adapt to the changes.
Underscoring the importance of the documents, McFarlane noted that Jamaica is being positioned to evolve into a modern economy with an imperative being access to, and use of the most current and high quality information to guide problem solving and decision making on matters such as climate change.
"Thus, being a climate-sensitive economy, we have to understand how the climate is changing and how it is likely to change spatially over time and towards the end of the century. We, at the PIOJ, are convinced that the outputs of this project are of tremendous value to the entire country," he said.
Noting that national outcome 14 of the country's National Development Plan Vision 2030 Jamaica speaks to hazard risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, McFarlane expressed the hope that access to the documents by the country's Parliamentarians will "aid their understanding of how inter-linked Jamaica's development is to its weather patterns".
He advised that arrangements will be made for public access to the documents through the distribution of copies, as well as uploading of their contents on the PIOJ's website.
Welcoming the publications, Pickersgill said they would effectively assist the administration in mainstreaming climate change into priority sectors, facilitate sectoral adaptation measures, strengthen policy and institutional arrangements, and build capacity for planning and forecasting. They will also serve to promote climate change education and awareness.
The minister also acknowledged the support of the IDB, and noted that various international partners and agencies have consistently collaborated with Jamaica to strengthen the country's capacity to adapt to climate change.