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Prep for It: Local scientist says planning key to coming El Nino event

Local scientists in the Caribbean, including Professor Michael Taylor (Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology) from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, are urging careful planning and preparation for an anticipated El Niño event that is expected to bring dry conditions to the region. Professor Taylor emphasized the need for conservation, water harvesting and storage, efficient usage, and restrictions on water usage. He also suggested exploring alternative water sources such as reactivating dormant wells and coordinating with relevant authorities and experts to make informed decisions based on data and science.

In addition to these measures, Professor Taylor stressed the importance of considering the most vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly, outdoor workers, farmers, the homeless, the sick, and the very young. Adequate provisions need to be made to ensure their health and well-being during the unfavorable climate conditions. He also highlighted the need to assess and improve infrastructure, particularly in hospitals and schools, should drought conditions persist.

El Niño events have historically led to drier conditions in the Caribbean, with severe droughts occurring during such periods in the past. The World Meteorological Organization has indicated a high likelihood of a transition to El Niño in the coming months, further underscoring the urgency of preparations.

Geographer and sustainable development professional Eleanor Jones echoed the call for action based on scientific knowledge. She emphasized the need to integrate science into policy and practice and to prioritize individual and community-level planning. Jones highlighted the efficient use of water resources, recycling grey water for irrigation, and adopting relevant technologies as key steps in addressing the challenges posed by the changing climate.

Photo caption: Ms. Eleanor Jones (Geographer and Sustainable Development Professional) and Prof. Michael Taylor (Dean, Fcaulty of Science and Technology, The University of the West Indies, Mona).

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Published on 02 Jun, 2023

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