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Simpler weather reports needed - UWI lecturer

Published:Wednesday | August 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

University of the West Indies (UWI) senior lecturer Dr Tannecia Stephenson is calling for the dissemination of climate-related information in a simpler format by the Jamaican media.

Noting that the island is susceptible to any increase in sea levels and has already seen an adverse effect through shrinking shorelines, flooding and a range of other associated problems, Stephenson, head of the Department of Physics at the UWI, Mona campus, warned that this poses a severe risk to Jamaica and other islands in the region.

"It is crucial because most of our infrastructure and much our population centres are on the coast; so if you look at our electricity assets, if you look at where most of our infrastructure are, they are mainly on the coast, and that also include our two international airports," said Stephenson.

"So when we speak to sea-level rise, we are seeing that much of our livelihood would have been impacted in some ways, and will continue to being impacted with the projections for the next century," added Stephenson.

Addressing the 2018 Weather and Climate Media Workshop at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on Monday, Stephenson said that the impact is the same in many other Caribbean islands, as the sea level continues to rise.




"Economically, there will be issues. This will cause major interruptions and displacements, over time, of peoples across the region, in low-lying areas in particularly. It is definitely something to watch and prepare for.

"And this is where the media is important. The daily weather forecasts and the long-term climate reports and forecasts must be presented with the idea that not everyone who hears or reads about it will understand, and so it must be presented in a way that takes this into consideration," argued Stephenson.

She told The Gleaner that people on the north of the island should not feel immune, as beach erosion caused by the increase in sea-levels is also happening there.

"For those looking on and are witnessing these changes on the south coast, over at Hellshire Beach, and at Little Ochi, note that these projections are for islandwide sea-level increases, meaning the same increase is happening on the north coast of the country as well," she said.

"I can't say one is rising at a faster rate than the other, but I can tell you that both the north and south coasts are experiencing the same thing," added Stephenson.