Long-term trends in precipitation and temperature across the Caribbean

Philip D. Jones, Colin Harpham, Ian Harris, Clare M. Goodess, Aidan Burton, Abel Centella-Artola, Michael A. Taylor, Arnoldo Bezanilla-Morlot, Jayaka D. Campbell, Tannecia S. Stephenson, Ottis Joslyn, Keith Nicholls, Timo Baur

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This study considers long-term precipitation and temperature variability across the Caribbean using two gridded data sets (CRU TS 3.21 and GPCCv5). We look at trends across four different regions (Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western), for three different seasons (May to July, August to October and November to April) and for three different periods (1901–2012, 1951–2012 and 1979–2012). There are no century-long trends in precipitation in either data set, although all regions (with the exception of the Northern Caribbean) show decade-long periods of wetter or drier conditions. The most significant of these is for the Southern Caribbean region which was wetter than the 1961–1990 average from 1940 to 1956 and then drier from 1957 to 1965. Temperature in contrast shows statistically significant warming everywhere for the periods 1901–2012, 1951–2012 and for over half the area during 1979–2012. Data availability is a limiting issue over much of the region and we also discuss the reliability of the series we use in the context of what is known to be available in the CRU TS 3.21 data set. More station data have been collected but have either not been fully digitized yet or not made freely available both within and beyond the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3314-3333
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
Issue number9
Early online date22 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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