(CNS): With just half of the annual rainfall that would normally be expected in any given twelve-month period, 2016 in the Cayman Islands is in the record books. Less than 28 inches of rain was measured at the weather station at Owen Roberts International Airport over the last year, when on average the island could expect to enjoy more than 56 inches. Officials from the National Weather Service confirmed Monday that 2016 was a very dry year. But with just 27.98 inches, it was the driest year since records began in the 1950’s.
2016 was not only the driest year, it came very close to being the hottest as well. The average temperature for 2016 was 83.1°F, or 1.3°F above the 30-year average of 81.8°F. The all-time record was in 2002/2003, when the average temperatures was recorded at is 83.2°F.
However, local weather experts point out that the trend for temperatures is up as shown by the graphs.
The hot dry weather was a feature throughout the year, and while the first few months are generally much drier, last May, the usual start of the rainy season, saw just two real rainy days producing less than two inches of rainfall. By the end of the month only 3.04 inches had fallen, far below the average amount for the month of almost six inches.
The dry, hot weather continued throughout the summer wet season, leaving high monthly rain deficits, the National Weather Service said, most notably in September through until November, when 14.5 inches less rain fell during that period than the average expectations.
Whether the increasing drought and rising temperature pattern in Cayman is specifically related to global climate change will, of course, be up for debate but the reality of climate change, which is accepted by 97% of the scientific community, would suggest it is likely.
All around the world temperatures were breaking records and 2016 was confirmed last week as the hottest year on record for the Earth, beating 2015 by a significant margin. Global surface temperatures in averaged 14.8℃ or 1.3℃ higher than estimated before the Industrial Revolution, when the use by humans of fossil fuels began in earnest.