Cayman Islands Senior Manager for Meteorological Services Fred Sambula, recently attended the Congress of the World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland.
He was the alternate to the lead delegate of the British Caribbean Territories delegation, along with other directors of the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation.
“Climate change and the associatedwarming is changing the intensity and frequency of storms; droughts and fire; raising the level of the oceans; and melting glaciers,” he said.
‘It’s important for Cayman, as a small island state, to be represented at this important congress, especially as we are the only British Territory Island in the Caribbean that has a weather forecast office.’
Developing and least developed countries need to have adequate infrastructure and human capital if they are to effectively use their national services and products to monitor climate change, and its associated socioeconomic impacts, he said.
Tourism and finance
For most forms of tourism, climate is a basic resource. Extreme weather conditions caused by global warming or climate change can affect tourism, hence affecting the finance sector.
Mr. Sambula highlighted that these two sectors are extremely sensitive to impacts of climate change.
‘Sustainable tourism development programmes can help improve this sustainability of these sectors by providing necessary information for the safe, profitable operation of facilities and activities, he said.
Agriculture – both forestry and livestock – is also an important industry. It too can be adversely affected by climate change and global warming, because weather determines what crops can grow, as well as when and where it can be grown.
‘Climate change, on a global as well as local basis, has a direct relationship to food security and scarcity, if areas where most of the world’s food is grown should be impacted negatively through things like drought and extreme temperatures,’ Mr. Sambula said.
In small island-states like Cayman, hot weather can contribute to increased morbidity and mortality. However, there are sophisticated meteorological systems used to alert health officials of extreme weather, so they can warn the public.
‘Now is the time to start considering these implications,’ said Mr. Sambula. ‘As weather can play a significant role in health and human services, our medical facilities should prepare to treat any sickness that arises out of these extreme conditions.’
The WMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations. It is the UN’s authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.