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

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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.

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Correspondence to Sharlene Lata Beharry.

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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00704-014-1330-9

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Keywords

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