Sweet Trinidad and Tobago is a beautiful, duel island country located in South America, and is relatively close to the equator. A known destination for tourists, it is known for its delicacies, cultural festivities, tropical climate. It’s large reserves of oil and gas makes it the wealthiest county in the Caribbean. Its climate is made up of two seasons: dry season which occurs from December to May and the rainy season which occurs from June to November. This split is mainly due to its geographical location between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Being on the southern side of the North Atlantic basin, it escapes the horrors of the hurricane season that occurs during its rainy season. Even though it is located in a safe zone not directly affected by storms, today it is very prone to the consequences of climate change. It is evident today that there have been a lot of changes in the climate over the past few years. From my personal experience, when I was in Trinidad 12 years ago, the rainy season and dry season were not as intense as they are now. Today, every time I call my grandparents in Trinidad, there is some type of storm accompanied by a great amount of flooding.
A direct link to climate change is that Trinidad is the second largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions in the world. It is known as the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean and produces a great amount of carbon due to the country’s oil and gas reserves which fuel a vibrant energy and petrochemical industry. The excessive emission of carbon dioxide leads to a disturbance in the earth’s radiative balance and gives way for changes in the climate. According to sources, some effects of climate change are rising of sea levels, increasing air temperature, more precipitation, the higher frequency of powerful storms that can result in increased flooding. In order to reduce these foreseen conditions, efforts were made to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide through the development of compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles. Anticipating what is to come due to climate change predictions, mitigation and adaptation are being looked at as an approach to ease future impacts. To mitigate climate change, initiatives to further reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase the use of alternative clean and renewable energy sources are being developed. Though it is wise to mitigate, damage has already been done, and the country is moving forward to adapt to the inevitable as well. Limitations to the development of coastal developments and enforced construction of coastal defense systems to protect the communities are being put together in Trinidad in response to climate change effects already felt. Hopefully the efforts being made can work towards preserving this great country of Trinidad and Tobago from climate casualties.
The first thing that came to my mind after reading your blog is Hurricane Irma of 2017. The tropical islands are at high risk for natural disasters, especially tropical storms. Hurricane Irma hit many islands and left devastating damage, that have yet to be restored from the catastrophe. I recall during that time, many friends and fellow classmates who had family back home on the islands were very worried and had no way to find out if their loved ones were okay. Many whom were the young and the elderly living in homes that were not steady enough to protect them from a storm like Hurricane Irma. It was a category 5 hurricane, and it was also the first storm to hit the islands in the Caribbean. The 2017 hurricane season was filled with catastrophic hurricanes, among others were Hurricanes Maria and Harvey. And many have speculated on the association of these extreme weather conditions with climate change. It is also known and is on record that the overall intensity and speed of the storms has risen.
Hurricanes act as a balance for the Earth’s heat (Sneed, 2017). Therefore, as you mentioned in your article, the excessive emission of carbon dioxide is probably one of the causes to the imbalance. The hurricanes act as a cooling effect to the surfaces of the earth. Many scientists have predicted that a single large hurricane will have the same effect of four small hurricanes (Sneed, 2017). This may correlate to the reason why we’re experiencing such intense storms as compared to the past. Also, rising temperatures could mean increased frequency and intensity of storms. I agree that it is important for people to realize how climate change is affecting the people who live on the islands, coastline, and areas that are prone to disaster. It is putting many lives at risk.
Sneed, A. (October, 2017). Was the Extreme 2017 Hurricane Season Driven by Climate Change? Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/was-the-extreme-2017-hurricane-season-driven-by-climate-change/
Thanks, Jiaxin. Your comment has many interesting points and facts.