Monday, April 23, 2012

Cuba expected to suffer more intense droughts, hurricanes

Cuba expected to suffer more intense droughts, hurricanes
Xinhua | April 23, 2012 14:53
By Agencies

More severe droughts and intense hurricanes will likely hit Cuba due to
world climate change, experts have warned.

According to experts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC), an organization founded in Geneva in 1988, there is evidence
that some of the weather events in the area are caused by increased
concentration of gases from greenhouse effect in the atmosphere.

Official daily Juventud Rebelde quoted IPCC experts as saying the
Caribbean economies will be greatly affected by these weather events in
the upcoming years.

Cuban television confirmed recently that the island expects more intense
droughts and even greater intensity of hurricanes during the hurricane
season, which goes from June 1 to Nov. 30 every year.

In Cuba, dry periods are becoming more intense and prolonged, turning
them into a growing concern for agriculture authorities.

Abel Centella, assistant science director of the Institute of
Meteorology of Cuba, has warned of increasing climate warming in the
Cuban archipelago.

Centella said that after studying the historical series of temperature
on the island, experts concluded that the minimum is rising, while the
maximum remains the same, shortening the temperature variations between
day and night.

As temperatures rise at night and remain almost similar during the day,
the ranges of heat variability reduce and the weather is hot, almost
during the 24 hours of a day, producing a thermal impact on people,
Centella said.

The phenomenon is also affecting the country's agriculture, where crops
like potato, garlic, onion and other vegetables are not developing well,
due to the reduction of temperature difference between day and night.

Last Thursday, economic analyst Ariel Terrero appeared on Cuban
television recalling that the unprecedented severe drought hitting the
island between 2004 and 2005 caused losses worth about 3 billion U.S.
dollars, worse than damages caused by an intense hurricane.

Currently, though the rainy season in the Caribbean begins in May and
June, the weather signals are foretelling another particularly intense
drought, and Cuban authorities are preparing a package of measures to
cope with it.

One sign that predicts another devastating drought, according to local
experts, is that from January to March 2012, the rainfall deficit
reached 70 percent in the island where rainfall is the major source of
fresh water.

The Cuban hydrological official bulletin in April said the rain deficit
was particularly serious in Havana and some provinces.

After the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 led by Fidel Castro,
the Cuban government took serious measures to redistribute and store water.

Over the past half century, the country has increased its reservoirs and
its capacity to store water from 48 million cubic meters to about 9
billion cubic meters.

In the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba which had been affected by
water shortage for decades, six new reservoirs, an aqueduct and a water
treatment plant have been built.

The problem now is the reservoirs are not filled. Cuban weekly Tribuna
de La Habana reported Sunday that in Havana, the capital city with over
2 million people, about 45,000 people are receiving water supply by tank
trucks from long distances, because the water reservoirs near their
homes do not have enough water to cover their needs.

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