Skip to main content

Variations in extreme temperature and precipitation for a Caribbean island: Trinidad


Temperature and precipitation in situ datasets for the Caribbean island, Trinidad for 1961–2010 were statistically analyzed using the RClimDex software and the Mann-Kendall test for trends. The annual, seasonal, and monthly findings were compared with regional projections; Providing Regional Climates for Impact Studies (PRECIS) and a 20 km atmospheric global circulation model, and a global projection of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 3 (CMIP3). Overall, the seasonal and decadal results revealed patterns different from the annual warming. All the temperature indices were found to have warming patterns with the wet season, June to December, generally greater than the dry season, January to May. The warmest decade was 1980s, whereas globally, the decade 2001–2010 was the warmest. There was an increase in the annual maximum 5 day precipitation, RX5day, at the UWI station. During the dry season (1973–2010) at the UFS and UWI stations, the RX5day increased by 8.60 and 7.76 mm per decade, respectively, while the maximum 1-day precipitation, RX1day, increased by 2.92 and 8.90 mm per decade for the UFS and UWI, respectively. The 1980s was the wettest, and during the decade 2001–2010, there were above averages for the consecutive dry days (CDD) and the simple daily intensity index (SDII). The projections on both the regional and global outlooks suggest that this warming pattern will continue in the future. This small-scale study supports that seasonal and decadal analyses, in addition to the annual assessments, are significant for the understanding of the climate variability which is required for vulnerability and adaptation studies for small island states.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8


  1. Abbas Farhat, et al. (2013) Changes in precipitation extremes over arid to semiarid and subhumid Punjab, Pakistan. Theoretical and Applied Climatology:1-10. doi: 10.1007/s00704-013-0988-8

  2. Aguilar E et al (2005) Changes in precipitation and temperature extremes in Central America and northern South America, 1961–2003. J Geophys Res Atmos 110, D23107. doi:10.1029/2005JD006119

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Alexander LV et al (2006) Global observed changes in daily climate extremes of temperature and precipitation. J Geophys Res 111, D05109. doi:10.1029/2005JD006290

    Google Scholar 

  4. Beharry S (2012) Analyses of rainfall, temperature and related extreme events for Trinidad and Tobago. Master of Philosophy, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad

  5. Beharry SL, Clarke RM, Kurmarsingh K (2013) Precipitation trends using in-situ and gridded datasets. Theor Appl Climatol. doi:10.1007/s00704-013-0921-1

    Google Scholar 

  6. Campbell JD, Taylor MA, Stephenson TS, Watson RA, Whyte FS (2011) Future climate of the Caribbean from a regional climate model. Int J Climatol 31:1866–1878. doi:10.1002/joc.2200

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Chen A, Taylor MA (2002) Investigating the link between early season Caribbean rainfall and the El Niño + 1 year. Int J Climatol 22(1):87–106. doi:10.1002/joc.711

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chu P-S, Chen YR, Schroeder TA (2010) Changes in precipitation extremes in the Hawaiian islands in a warming climate. Journal of. Climate, 23, 4881–4900. doi:

  9. Donat MG et al (2013) Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: the HadEX2 dataset. J Geophys Res Atmos 118:2098–2118. doi:10.1002/jgrd.50150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. dos Santos CAC, Neale CMU, Rao TVR, da Silva BB (2011) Trends in indices for extremes in daily temperature and precipitation over Utah, USA. Int J Climatol 31:1813–1822. doi:10.1002/joc.2205

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dufek AS, Ambrizzi T (2008) Precipitation variability in São Paulo State, Brazil. Theor Appl Climatol 93(3–4):167–178. doi:10.1007/s00704-007-0348-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Easterling DR, Alexander LV, Abdallah Mokssit, Valery Detemmerman (2003) CCI/CLIVAR workshop to develop priority climate indices” Bulletin of the Mathematical Society 84, 1403–1407. doi:

  13. ETCCDMI (2013) ETCCDMI/CRD Climate Change Indices, Software. Accessed 3March 2014.

  14. Fan X, Wang Q, Wang M (2012) Changes in temperature and precipitation extremes during 1959–2008 in Shanxi, China. Theor Appl Climatol 109(1–2):283–303. doi:10.1007/s00704-011-0577-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Garstang M (1959) Tropical island rainfall: a study of the rainfall distribution of Trinidad, West Indies. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  16. Gocic M, Trajkovic S (2013) Analysis of changes in meteorological variables using Mann-Kendall and Sen’s slope estimator statistical tests in Serbia. Glob Planet Chang 100:172–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Granger OE (1982) Climatic fluctuations in Trinidad west indies and their implications for water resource planning. Caribb J Sci 17:173–201

    Google Scholar 

  18. Groisman PY et al (1999) Changes in the probability of heavy precipitation: important indicators of climatic change. Clim Chang 42:243–283

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hall TC, Andrea M, Sealy TS, Stephenson SK, Taylor MA, Chen AA, Kitoh A (2013) Future climate of the Caribbean from a super-high-resolution atmospheric general circulation model. Theor Appl Climatol 113(1–2):271–287. doi:10.1007/s00704-012-0779-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hamed KH (2008) Trend detection in hydrologic data: the Mann–Kendall trend test under the scaling hypothesis. J Hydrol 349(3):350–363

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Haylock, M. R., et al. (2006) Trends in total and Extreme South American rainfall in 1960–2000 and links with sea surface temperature. Journal of Climate, 19, 1490–1512. doi:10.1175/JCLI3695.1

  22. Insaf TZ, Lin S, Sheridan SC (2013) Climate trends in indices for temperature and precipitation across New York State, 1948–2008. Air Qual Atmos Health 6(1):247–257. doi:10.1007/s11869-011-0168-x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. IPCC (2007) Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. contribution of working group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

  24. IPCC (2013) Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. contribution of working group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker,T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S. K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)].Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

  25. Jury M, Malmgren BA, Winter A (2007) Subregional precipitation climate of the Caribbean and relationships with ENSO and NAO. J Geophys Res 112, D16107. doi:10.1029/2006JD007541

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Karmalkar AV, New M, Taylor MA, Campbell J, Stephenson T et al (2013) A review of observed and projected changes in climate for the islands in the Caribbean. Atmosfera 26(2):283–309

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Klein Tank AMG et al (2006) Changes in daily temperature and precipitation extremes in central and south Asia. J Geophys Res 111, D16105. doi:10.1029/2005JD006316

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Neelin JD, Munnich M, Su H, Meyerson JE, Holloway C (2006) Tropical drying trends in global warming models and observations. Proc Natl Acad Sci 103:6110–6115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. New M et al (2006) Evidence of trends in daily climate extremes over southern and west Africa. J Geophys Res 111, D14102. doi:10.1029/2005JD006289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Peterson TC (2005) The workshop on enhancing south and central Asian climate monitoring and indices. Pune, India, February 14–19, 2005, CLIVAR Exch., 10, 6

  31. Peterson TC, et al (2002) Recent changes in climate extremes in the Caribbean region. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 107 (D21): ACL 16-1-ACL 16-9.

  32. Santos, Carlos Antonio Costa dos (2011) Trends in indices for extremes in daily air temperature over Utah, USA. Revista Brasileira de Meteorologia 26:19-28

  33. Seepersad J (1977) An analysis of droughts in Trinidad. B. Sc. Thesis. McGill University

  34. Sensoy S, Peterson TC, Alexander L, Zhang X (2007) Meeting summary: enhancing Middle East climate change monitoring and indexes. 88:1249-1254

  35. Singh B (1997) Climate-related global changes in the Southern Caribbean: Trinidad and Tobago. Glob Planet Chang 15(3–4):93

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Skansi al (2013) Warming and wetting signals emerging from analysis of changes in climate extreme indices over South America. Global and Planetary Change no. 100 (0):295-307. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2012.11.004.

  37. Stephenson TS et al (2014) Changes in extreme temperature and precipitation in the Caribbean region, 1961–2010. Int J Climatol. doi:10.1002/joc.3889

    Google Scholar 

  38. Stone RJ (2001) Changing seasonal rainfall patterns in Trinidad: myth or reality. West Indian J Eng 23(2):9–16

    Google Scholar 

  39. Stone R (2008) The alleged surface air temperature rise in Trinidad: climate change or thermometer change? The16th CAS Biennial Conference on Science and Technology Vehicles for Sustainable Economic Development in the Caribbean; 11-13 October 2008. 296-301

  40. Tabari H, Hosseinzadeh Talaee P (2011) Analysis of trends in temperature data in arid and semi-arid regions of Iran. Glob Planet Chang 79(1):1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Tabari H, Talaee PH (2011) Temporal variability of precipitation over Iran: 1966–2005. J Hydrol 396(3):313–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Trinidad and Tobago meteorological services (2009) climate: the geography and climate of Trinidad and Tobago Accessed May 25, 2009.

  43. Trenberth KE, Jones PD, Ambenje P, Bojariu R, Easterling D, Klein Tank A (2007) Observations: surface and atmospheric climate change. In: Climate change 2007. In: Solomon SD, Qin M, Manning Z, Chen M, Marquis KB, Tignor AM, Miller HL (eds) The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, ambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA

    Google Scholar 

  44. Trinidad and Tobago. Central Statistical Office (CSO). (2012) Country Introduction. Chapter 1. Accessed May 5 2012.

  45. Trinidad and Tobago. Water Resources Agency (2001) Integrating the management of watersheds and coastal areas in Trinidad and Tobago. Prepared by the Water Resource Agency for the Ministry of the Environment, Complex Independent Square, Port of Spain. Assessed 12 May 2013.

  46. Vincent LA (2005) Observed trends in indices of daily temperature extremes in South America 1960–2000. Journal of Climate 18:5011–5023. doi:10.1175/JCLI3589.1

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Vincent L(2012) Calculating climate indices using RClimDex. Last assessed 3 February 2014. = t&rct = j&q = &esrc = s&source = web&cd = 2&cad = rja&ved = 0CCoQFjAB&url = http%3A%2 = CQX9UvzRG9HukQftmYCwAg&usg = AFQjCNFHk5A6R5v1xANSoQK9O1s_DuVRUQ&bvm = bv.61190604,d.eW0

  48. Wang XL (2008) Penalized maximal F test for detecting undocumented mean shift without trend change. J Atmos Ocean Technol 25:368–384

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Wang XL, Wen QH, Wu Y (2007) Penalized maximal t-test for detecting undocumented mean change in climate data series. J Appl Meteorol Climatol 46:916–931

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Wang H et al (2013) Changes in daily climate extremes in the arid area of northwestern China. Theor Appl Climatol 112(1–2):15–28. doi:10.1007/s00704-012-0698-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Wehekind L and Smith GW (1955) Trinidad rainfall, 1933-1952 and rainfall reliability. Government Printery Office. Trinidad, British West Indies

  52. World Meteorological Organization (WMO) (2013) The global climate 2001-2010: a decade of climate extremes. Accessed July 7, 2013.

  53. Zhang X et al (2005) Trends in middle east climate extreme indices from 1950 to 2003. J Geophys Res 110, D22104. doi:10.1029/2005JD006181

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to acknowledge and thank the CCl/CLIVAR/JCOMM Expert Team on Climate Change Detection and Indices (ETCCDMI) for providing the freely available software and technical assistance, the Meteorological Services of Trinidad and Tobago, and the University of the West Indies, St Augustine for making the datasets available. The authors will also like to thank the reviewers for their guidance in improving this manuscript.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sharlene Lata Beharry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Beharry, S.L., Clarke, R.M. & Kumarsingh, K. Variations in extreme temperature and precipitation for a Caribbean island: Trinidad. Theor Appl Climatol 122, 783–797 (2015).

Download citation


  • World Meteorological Organization
  • Trinidad
  • Caribbean Region
  • Warming Pattern
  • Cool Night