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National Training Workshop on Climate Change Impacts Tools

PRESS RELEASE – Belmopan, Belize; November 24, 2017 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC/5Cs) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development and Immigration through the National Climate Change Office (NCCO) is hosting a national training on the Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Portal and Climate Change Impacts Tools. This training workshop is being funded by the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) project. The training will be held over a period of 9 days; the first segment of the training is scheduled for the week of November 27th to December 1st, 2017, while the second segment will be held from January 15th to 18th, 2018 at the George Price Center, Belmopan City, Belize.

Participants of the National Training Workshop, Belize.

The Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model / Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (TSM/SMASH), the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO) and accompanying web portal and data sets are specific climate change impacts tools aimed at assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions along with policy formulation and implementation.

The tools are open source online resources to provide locally relevant and unbiased climate change information that is specific to the Caribbean and relevant to the region’s development. Case studies focused on areas such as drought, agriculture, water resources, coastal zone structures, health (dengue fever), and urban development and flooding were also done to test these tools and information related to these case studies will be shared during the Training along with many other interactive sessions. The integration of the tools into national policy agendas across the region is being spearheaded through regional and country workshops, which are crucial to ensuring effective decision-making and improving climate knowledge and action.

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Caribbean Weather Impacts Group (CARIWIG) Tools and Portal

Brief Description

  1.       A weather generator has been developed and tested on present day meteorological station observations in the region and found to produce reasonable simulations of both average and extreme weather properties. This tool provides the basis for weather generator based downscaling, required to generate locally relevant bias corrected weather scenarios for impact studies.
  2.      A new tropical storm model has been developed to provide spatial 15-minute scenarios of rainfall and wind speed over Caribbean islands under various scenarios of track, category, movement speed and historic notable storm. Managers may consider such scenarios as part of hazard management. Case study results suggest that hurricane speed, an under-reported metric, is actually of key importance, and that near-misses may be more hazardous than previously supposed.
  3.     The CARiDRO tool has been developed to assist the evaluation of meteorological and hydrological drought for the Caribbean and Central American regions, for both present day and future climate projections. This tool greatly simplifies standard but complex analyses and automatically generates a number of graphical outputs (e.g. time series plots and maps). This tool will support the agriculture and water resource sectors in their assessment and adaptation to drought hazard. A case study verified the CARiDRO tool identification of a region-wide historic drought, and found that future projections indicated increasing regional drought frequency.

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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.

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Intensive Training Continues In An Effort To Increase Awareness Of The Impacts Of Climate Change

(L-R) Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor, Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with June Hughes, Senior Environment Officer at the Department of Environment,

The Department of Environment recognizes climate variability and climate change to be two of the most significant threats to sustainable development in St. Kitts and Nevis. Against this backdrop, a number of persons from various fields throughout the federation are currently attending an eight day National Training Workshop in the Use of Climate Models for Decision Making.

The workshop, which runs from April 19-28, is held under the auspices of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

June Hughes, Senior Environment Officer at the Department of Environment, said that the training is timely, as climate change continues to be a clear and present danger. She noted that the department is working closely with regional and international partners to ensure that persons are aware of the dangers that exist.

“We in the Department of Environment have been working to raise awareness on the impacts of climate change, while taking advantage of every capacity building opportunity to improve our adaptive response have strengthened our mitigation measures,” she said. “Each training, workshop and meeting strengthens our country to address and reduce the impacts of climate change.”

Dr. Ulric Trotz, Deputy Director and Science Advisor at CCCCC, explained that the workshop would first be rolled out nationally in all 10 countries under the USAID banner, after which regional workshops will be held. He made mention of specific training tools that were developed with the aim of assisting in the generation of scientific information and analysis to help in making informed decisions. These include the Weather Generator (WG), the Tropical Storm Model/ Simple Model for the Advection of Storms and Hurricanes (SMASH), and the Caribbean Drought Assessment Tool (CARiDRO).

“The CARIWIG [Caribbean Weather Impacts Group] tool is a critical tool in that it more or less localizes the projection so that for instance, you can actually look at climate projections for the future in a watershed in St. Kitts and Nevis. It localizes that information and it makes it much more relevant to the local circumstance,” said Dr. Trotz.

The deputy executive director encouraged participants to acquire all the knowledge necessary, as it is the presenters hope that at the end of the training “a cadre of technical skills” would be developed in St. Kitts and Nevis and the region on whole that would help to deal successfully with the challenges faced from climate change.

Training and application of the tools will allow decision-makers to better understand the potential impacts of drought, tropical storms, and rainfall and temperature changes. When combined with other data and information, they can help to build a picture of potential impacts to key economic sectors in the country. The training will target key personnel whose focus are in areas of agriculture, water resources, coastal zone management, health, physical planning or disaster risk reduction.

 Credit: ZIZ Online

Climate change will impact Caribbean resources

Alberton Pacheco, Regional Coordinator for Ecosystems of the United Nations Environmental Programme, said yesterday climate change and climate variability strongly impact water resources in the Caribbean. He said the region suffers from a lot of droughts, which affects agriculture and when these droughts pass they are usually followed by periods of floods.

“In the long run, there will be an affectation by climate change in the Caribbean and that’s the reason we have been advocating for the integrated management of water resources. If we are able to manage our water resources we might be able to save enough water for whenever we have an extended period of drought and likewise when we have floods we can manage ourselves a little better, because the problem that we have at the moment is that in either instance, either drought or floods, the region’s agricultural soil is being affected, you actually get the fragmentation of the soil from too much drought and you have the loss of soil enrichment from the floods.” Pacheco was leading a discussion on water management at the Caribbean Basin Forum and afterwards spoke to Newsday about the importance of the issue.

The Caribbean Basin Forum was held in advance of the official opening of the 2016 Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association Conference on Monday evening at the Hyatt Regency.

The conference is continuing all week at the hotel.

Pacheco said that the region needs to communicate the usefulness of water as a development resource: “you cannot develop your agriculture, you cannot have an expansion of the tourism sector if you do not factor in how you are going to manage your water resources in the long term.” He said integrated water management was a tool to do that kind of planning at the national level in terms of legislation and in terms of policy. He added that there needed to be the political will to do so and slowly but surely politicians were starting to become aware of how to use the natural resources in the productive sector.

He said issues of climate change have already been key discussion points in the conference because the whole issue of access to water is one of the UN’s eight Sustainable Development Goals, pointing out that the world cannot plan for the future in terms of access to water unless it confronts the issue of climate change.

Credit: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Japan and UNDP launch climate change project in eight Caribbean countries

undp_japan.jpg

Members of the J-CCCP Project Board following the project launch

The government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the US$15 million Japan-Caribbean climate change partnership (J-CCCP) on Thursday, in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The launch follows a two-day meeting with more than 40 representatives from eight Caribbean countries, including government officials, technical advisors, NGO and UN partners to set out a roadmap to mitigate and adapt to climate change, in line with countries’ long-term strategies.

The new initiative will help put in practice Caribbean countries’ actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, such as nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs). It will also boost access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel imports and dependence, setting the region on a low-emission development path, while addressing critical balance of payments constraints.

“The government of Japan is pleased to partner with UNDP. It is envisaged that the project will also contribute to building a platform for information sharing in developing and implementing climate change policies and promoting the transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies. Japan expects, through pilot projects and information sharing, the project will enable the Caribbean countries to enhance their capacity to cope with climate change and natural disasters,” said Masatoshi Sato, minister-counsellor and deputy head of mission at the embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, stressing that the partnership will also promote South-South and North-South cooperation, including study tours to Japan for government officials and technical advisors.

Participating countries include Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, benefitting an estimated 200,000 women and men in 50 communities.

“This partnership comes at a critical time in our nation’s sustainable development programme,” said Gloria Joseph, permanent secretary in the ministry of planning, economic development and investment in Dominica. “Dominica has experienced firsthand the devastating and crippling effect that climate change can have on a nation’s people, their livelihoods and economy, risking losing up to 90 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to a tropical storm or hurricane. Dominica stands ready and welcomes the opportunity to benefit from early response warning systems, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction measures as it seeks to restore and ‘build back better’.”

Climate change is recognised as one of the most serious challenges to the Caribbean. With the likelihood that climate change will exacerbate the frequency and intensity of the yearly hurricane season, comprehensive measures are needed to protect at-risk communities. Boosting resilience is crucial for the region’s development and is a clear part of UNDP’s global strategic plan of programme priorities.

Negative impacts on land, water resources and biodiversity associated with climate change have also been predicted with the potential to affect shoreline stability, the health of coastal and marine ecosystems and private property, as well as ecosystem services. Increasing coastal erosion and severe coral reef bleaching events are already evident in some locations.

“UNDP has been championing the cause of climate change in the Caribbean for many years and we are pleased to partner with the Government of Japan toward the implementation of climate change projects in eight Caribbean countries,” said Rebeca Arias, regional hub director for UNDP’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. “In light of the COP21 agreement, these projects are timely in assisting countries to respond more effectively to the impacts of climate change and to increase their resilience through actions today to make them stronger for tomorrow.”

Credit: Caribbean News Now

Understanding the Energy-Water Nexus

Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) recently released the publication ‘Understanding the Energy-Water Nexus’ that can be downloaded at http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2014/e14046.pdf.

Nexus

Why is it important?

Climate change is a global problem, and one of the main challenges facing mankind this century. Climate change is driven mainly by energy use and land use changes, but at the same time climate change mitigation and adaptation measures place increased pressure on water and land resources. The use of conventional energy technologies contributes negatively to climate change, and some technologies require large amounts of water. However, water and land are often crucial resource inputs for implementing climate mitigation and adaptation measures.

Climate change and energy, water and food resource systems are fundamentally interrelated. We need energy to produce food and to treat and move water; we need water to cultivate food crops and to generate essentially any form of energy; and we need food to support the world’s growing population that both generates and relies on energy and water services. Land availability also constitutes an important element in each of these three resources, for example for crop production for either food or energy purposes. This mutual relationship is defined as the “Energy-Water-Food Nexus”.

To date, the three individual resource systems of energy, water, and food have mostly been organised and studied independently. In a rapidly developing world with ever more pressing environmental challenges, however, choices and actions in each of these three domains can significantly affect the others, positively or negatively. Therefore it is important to take a “nexus approach” to analysing these three resource systems. Conventional policy- and decision-making with regards to each of these domains in isolation is not necessarily anymore the most effective or optimal course of planning or action. A “nexus approach”, which in our context refers to a multidisciplinary type of analysis of the relationship between energy, water and food, can help to balance trade-offs and to build synergies across these different sectors. In an increasingly complex and interrelated world this approach can lead to better and more efficient resource use as well as cross-sectoral policy coherence.

This report begins by reviewing the current thinking reported in the existing literature on the “Energy-Water-Food Nexus”. Given that the nexus constitutes a broad, recently emerging, and still largely undefined and poorly understood concept and associated field of research, we then narrow down our focus to predominantly inspect the interrelationship between energy and water. This report aims to inform local and regional decision-makers responsible for the development and implementation of policies related to energy and water resource systems.

Credit: ECN

23rd Annual CWWA Conference and Exhibition

CWWA Conference

The Caribbean Water and Waste Water Association (CWWA) will host their 23rd Annual Conference and Exhibition on October 6-10 at the Atlantis Paradise Island (Kerzer) Resorts in the Bahamas.

The 2014 Conference seeks to:

  • examine the past and present aspects of the Caribbean’s water and waste sectors to determine the positions of the sectors for networking and resource development of successful endeavours;
  • arrange for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors to display goods and services being currently offered to the industry;
  • honour persons who have given distinguished service to the Caribbean Sectors

Authors wishing to present a paper should submit an abstract of not more than 500 words for consideration. Abstracts should be in English and contain a title, author’s name(s) and full contact details. Deadline for abstracts is June 30 2014. Successful authors will be notified by July 14th 2014. Full papers should be submitted no later than August 30, 2014. All papers will be published in the official conference proceedings. Please focus on applied research, case studies and lessons learnt.

The major 2014 CWWA conference thematic topic areas are:

  • Distribution systems and plant operations - Water
  • Collection systems and plant operations – Wastewater
  • Solid Waste
  • Policy, Legislative and regulatory, Public Affairs
  • Financial Management
  • Special Topics/Research and Development
  • Water Quality/Water Resources
See the CWWA May 2014 Newsletter here.
Credits: CWWA

Climate Policy Goes Hand-in-Hand with Water Policy

Guyana beverage manufacturer Banks DIH Limited treats all waste water, making it safe for disposal into the environment. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Guyana beverage manufacturer Banks DIH Limited treats all waste water, making it safe for disposal into the environment. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS

Concerned that climate change could lead to an intensification of the global hydrological cycle, Caribbean stakeholders are working to ensure it is included in the region’s plans for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

The basis of IWRM is that the many different uses of finite water resources are interdependent. High irrigation demands and polluted drainage flows from agriculture mean less freshwater for drinking or industrial use.

Contaminated municipal and industrial wastewater pollutes rivers and threatens ecosystems. If water has to be left in a river to protect fisheries and ecosystems, less can be diverted to grow crops.

Meanwhile, around the world, variability in climate conditions, coupled with new socioeconomic and environmental developments, have already started having major impacts.

The Global Water Partnership-Caribbean (GWP-C), which recently brought international and regional stakeholders together for a conference in Trinidad, is aimed at better understanding the climate system and the hydrological cycle and how they are changing; boosting awareness of the impacts of climate change on society, as well as the risk and uncertainty in the context of water and climate change and especially variability; and examining adaptation options in relation to water and climate change.

“Basically we’re looking to integrate aspects of climate change and climate variability and adaptation into the Caribbean water sector,” Natalie Boodram, programme manager of the Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP), told IPS.

“And this is a very big deal for us because under predicted climate change scenarios we’re looking at things like drier dry seasons, more intense hurricanes, when we do get rain we are going to get more intense rain events, flooding.

“All of that presents a substantial challenge for managing our water resources. So under the GWP-C WACDEP, we’re doing a number of things to help the region adapt to this,” she added.

Current variability and long-term climate change impacts are most severe in a large part of the developing world, and particularly affect the poorest.

Through its workshops, GWP-C provides an opportunity for partners and stakeholders to assess the stage of the IWRM process that various countries have reached and work together to operationalise IWRM in their respective countries.

Integrated Water Resources Management is a process which promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.

IWRM helps to protect the world’s environment, foster economic growth and sustainable agricultural development, promote democratic participation in governance, and improve human health.

GWP-C regional co-ordinator, Wayne Joseph, said the regional body is committed to institutionalising and operationalising IWRM in the region.

“Our major programme is the WACDEP Programme, Water and Climate Development Programme, and presently we are doing work in four Caribbean Countries – Jamaica, Antigua, Guyana and St. Lucia,” he told IPS.

“We’re gender-sensitive. We ensure that the youth are incorporated in what we do and so we provide a platform, a neutral platform, so that issues can be discussed that pertain to water and good water resources management.”

The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) is a non-profit, civil society body that focuses its resources on empowering Caribbean young people and their communities to develop programmes and actions to address socioeconomic and environmental issues.

Rianna Gonzales, the national coordinator of the Trinidad and Tobago Chapter, has welcomed the initiative of the GWP-C as being very timely and helpful, adding that the region’s youth have a very important role to play in the process.

“I think it’s definitely beneficial for young people to be part of such a strategic group of people in terms of getting access to resources and experts…so that we will be better able to communicate on water related issues,” she told IPS.

The CYEN programme aims at addressing issues such as poverty alleviation and youth employment, health and HIV/AIDS, climatic change and global warming, impact of natural disasters/hazards, improvement in potable water, conservation and waste management and other natural resource management issues.

The GWP-C said the Caribbean region has been exposed to IWRM and it is its goal to work together with its partners and stakeholders at all levels to implement IWRM in the Caribbean.

“A very significant activity for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States has been to prepare a Water Sector Model Policy and Model Water Act which proposes to remedy the key water resources management issues through new institutional arrangements and mechanisms that include water and waste water master planning, private sector and community partnership and investment mechanisms,” GWP-C chair Judy Daniel told IPS.

IWRM has not been fully integrated in the policy, legal and planning frameworks in the Caribbean although several territories have developed/drafted IWRM Policies, Roadmaps and Action plans. Some of these countries include: Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana, Jamaica; The Bahamas; Trinidad and Tobago; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Credit: Inter Press Service News Agency

Trinidad and Tobago: Who is going to pay the Climate Change piper?

Credit: BID

Workshop on Economics of Climate Change Adaptation
Credit: BID

Investing in the future is always a challenging decision, for example planning for retirement  will often seem to be less urgent  when we have pressing daily financial  issues that have to be addressed  now (unless you are near to retirement age of course). Not tomorrow, not in 10 years, but today. But the truth is that, in order to have a financially stable future, we need to know our risks, assess the potential losses and costs associated with them, and plan accordingly.

Governments face a similar challenge when it comes to thinking about climate change: they need to plan now to be able to manage the risks associated with the climate of today, tomorrow and the future.

In Trinidad and Tobago, being a small island state, you face very clear risks: you have fragile ecosystems, limited land space and a concentration of socio-economic activities within a narrow coastal belt including critical infrastructure (think power generation, ports, oil and gas facilities)   which will certainly be adversely affected by rising sea levels and other climate related impacts. According to different studies, climate change will have a significant impact on the country, both on environmental and socio-economic levels, affecting primarily 4 key areas:  agriculture, health, human settlements (particularly in coastal areas), and water resources.  What do you do about addressing the cost of the impacts of climate change?

To help the Government address this challenging task of financially planning for the risks of adaptation to climate change (sorry but unfortunately there is a cost involved based on current greenhouse gas emissions), the IDB has supported the elaboration of a study on the economics of climate adaptation which aims at providing a tool to help design adaptation strategies to increase a county’s resilience against climate change-related hazards. In Trinidad and Tobago, investing in climate adaptation now will pay off in the future: it is estimated that investments in mangrove restoration and the national building code will have payback period of less than five years and positive benefit-cost ratios – those are smart investments!

Adaptation has to be a priority for Trinidad and Tobago, as well as for the rest of the CARICOM states, and this is why this methodology will be shared across the region in an effort to help Caribbean governments plan for the future: the wise decisions of today can certainly help us secure a climate-resilient future. The piper will have to be paid but it is wise to put aside the resources now and in the right place before the costs are too high.

Credit: Let's Talk Climate Change, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Are you interested in Hydrometeorology? Here’s a funded workshop slated for December!

Tap waterIsrael’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) announced an Advanced Hydrometeorology Workshop, which will take place in Israel from the 2nd to the 12th of December 2013.

The course, which is the product of a partnership among MASHAV,  Israel Meteorological Service and World Meteorological Organisation, solely targets participants from meteorological and hydrological institutes.

Also see Mashav's brochure for the course Advanced Methods for Increasing Dairy Yield:  Small & Large Ruminants.

In announcing the call for applications, the course administrators said candidates will be allocated with the assistance of the World Meteorological Organization only.

The workshop will cover topics in accordance with the concept of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), where water is one of the four key areas selected by the High Level Taskforce of GFCS.

A course advert says many of the methodologies and techniques developed in Israel over the years could be used to support development and improvement of existing and planned water resources management systems in other parts of the world. This is being emphasized as Israel has successfully developed an efficient Water Management System, despite its inherent water scarcity, growing population demands and the impacts of climate change and variability.

These methodologies and techniques will be presented to the participants in a combination of classroom lectures, discussions, exercises, demonstrations, field trips and round-table discussions.

The course seeks to:

a)    To discuss the effects of climate change on aspects of the hydrological water cycle and availability of water resources.
b)    To demonstrate modern Hydrometeorological Techniques and methods for efficient water resources management.
 Main Workshop Content

Precipitation measurements:

Observational Network

Data Management and Quality Control

Data Analysis:

Mapping

Trends

Statistical Analysis of Extreme Events

Precipitation Prediction:

Nowcasting and short Term Forecasting

Seasonal and Climate Prediction

Water Resources and Management:

Statistical Analysis (Droughts, water levels in water reservoirs, etc.)

Rainfall – Runoff Relationship

Soil and Water Conservation

Role of Rain Radar in Flash Flood Management

  Participation cost

  • The airfare cost should be covered by the participant, by his/her employer, or by the granting institution.
  • The total cost of lodging at full board for single in a double room during the duration of the workshop, including tuition fees and field trips transportation will amount to app. 200$ per day (inc. insurance).

 Scholarships

Scholarships, covering accommodations at full board (two persons per room) during the duration of the workshop, tuition fees and field trip transportation will be provided by the Government of Israel – MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation  for suitable applicants from developing countries only.

CRITERIA

The Advanced Workshop is designed primarily for meteorological staff of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services engaged and interested in application of advanced Hydrometeorological methodologies and techniques of water resources management.

 Language

The workshop will be held in English. A working knowledge of English is mandatory.

Training Staff

The workshop will be conducted by senior staff of the IMS/WMO RTC Bet Dagan and other Institutes having extensive knowledge and experience in Climatology, Hydrology and Meteorology in Israel and elsewhere. Invited guest lecturers will also participate in providing and sharing their knowledge and experience in specific fields of expertise.

Registration

Interested candidates are requested to complete the Participant Application Form for the workshop and return it directly to RTC Bet-Dagan, Israel Meteorological Service, P.O. 25 Bet-Dagan 50250 Israel, to rmtc@ims.gov.il or to gershteing@ims.gov.il not later than the 15 October 2013.

Caribbean applicants are advised that CARDI is prepared to support applications from the region, but says it cannot guarantee that any application will be accepted or that funding from MASHAV will be available. CARDI’s support is non-financial.

Also see Mashav’s brochure for the course Advanced Methods for Increasing Dairy Yield:  Small & Large Ruminants.

CERMES Field Laboratory Underway in Belize

CERMES Students with 5Cs staff in Belmopan

CERMES Students with 5Cs staff in Belmopan

A group of students, faculty and support staff from the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), which is located at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, arrived in Belize yesterday (April 7 through to April 16) for an extensive field laboratory.

This marks the ninth year that the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is funding a contingent of CERMES students and faculty to visit Belize, one of the region’s most diverse ecological settings, to put into action the range of tools they are learning, and observe the relationships between scientific theory and the measurement of critical variables and parameters.

(L-R) John Moody (5Cs), Neetha Selliah (CERMES), Dr. Adrian Cashman (CERMES), Renata Goodridge (CERMES), Dr. Nurse (5Cs and CERMES), and Earl Green (5Cs)

(L-R) John Moody (5Cs), Neetha Selliah (CERMES), Dr. Adrian Cashman (CERMES), Renata Goodridge (CERMES), Dr. Nurse (5Cs and CERMES), and Earl Green (5Cs)

The 13 students who hail from across the region were drawn from graduate studies in both climate change and water resources management. Dr. Leonard Nurse, Chairman of the Centre’s Board of Directors and coordinator of the climate change graduate programme, says the students will visit three sites in mixed groups and three according to their area of specialization. Dr. Nurse notes that the inter-disciplinary cohorts mirror the need for and will enable strong team ethic, cross-disciplinary competence and investigative skills.

His colleague Dr. Adrian Cashman, who coordinates the water resources management graduate programme, says the field laboratory is crucial. He notes that it has evolved over the years from being largely observational to an intensive field work exercise that is exposing the students to things rarely taught in the classroom, including critical soft skills such as communication and planning, while enabling a better appreciation for the myriad of possible sources of error and difficulties associated with field work. He says assignments based on the trip will account for a quarter of their respective course grades, adding that in the medium to long-term, there should be a separate field laboratory that spans a longer period and constituting an independent course.

Credit: CGIAR

Credit: CGIAR

Dr. Nurse agrees, noting that the programme’s value is lasting. He says since its inception, CERMES students have compiled nearly a decade of beach profile data showing the rapid rate of erosion at Monkey River, a site they will visit again. He says the students are also slated to investigate the carbon sequestration capacity of forest in the Ya’axche Golden Stream Reserve and visit the Blue Creek rice field site to examine the potential for greenhouse emissions from rice paddy fields. Dr. Cashman added that the water resources group will work on ground water issues in Orange Walk and Corozal to locate wells, with the intention of using GPS to measure the depth to water table. The students will then begin to build ground water maps, which will prove especially useful for planning purposes.

Bookmark this page for daily updates of activities carried out by the CERMES contingent. What to expect? Pictures, short videos and summaries of their beach and offshore profiling in the Monkey River Village area, carbon sequestration measurements in the Ya’axche Golden Stream Reserve, flow gauging and water quality sampling in upper Bladen River, visits to rice fields in Blue Creek and Altun Ha Maya and much more.

Students engaging in water quality sampling

Students engaging in water quality sampling

Students engaging in water quality sampling

Students engaging in water quality sampling

Presentation

Presentation

Members of the CERMES Team

Members of the CERMES Team

Students

Students

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