Climate change has not yet begun to affect the water sources in Antigua and Barbuda, so says a recently published paper by Herrera et al – a geophysical research letter.
The paper has shown that climate change was not a factor in the 2013-2016 Antigua drought – the worst for Antigua on record, dating back to 1928.
The year 2015 was the driest on record dating back to, at least, 1871 or over 145 years. It was a year without a wet season.
Deputy Director of the Antigua Met Services and Climatologist Dale Destin says before that paper was published there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.
But if not climate change, what is drying out water sources across the country?
Well the paper suggest that it is mainly due to environmental pollution and pollutants originating in human activity or what is referred to as anthropogenic greenhouse‐gas concentrations.
The results indicate that human‐caused warming contributed to 15–17% of drought severity by increasing evapotranspiration rates and accounted for 7% of land area under drought across the Caribbean.
What is even more alarming is that the fact that climate change did not affect the drought situation in Antigua only means that there is much room for worsened conditions.
Herrera’s research made use of a recently developed high‐resolution self‐calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index data set, to find these results.
Between 2013 and 2016, virtually, the entire region experienced a Pan‐Caribbean drought, which was unprecedented since at least 1950.
This drought affected the entire region and pushed more than two million people into food insecurity.
The effects were particularly serious in Haiti, where one million people (10% of its population) were severely affected by food insecurity and required immediate assistance.
The FAO even reported that over 50% of crop in Haiti were lost due to the drought.