Thu | Sep 21, 2023

Warmer temperatures for August

Heatwave days predicted for summer

Published:Thursday | June 8, 2023 | 12:29 AMAinsworth Morris/Staff Reporter

JACQUELINE SPENCE, head of Climate Branch, Meteorological Services of Jamaica, says Jamaicans should expect continued warmer temperatures into August, with at least 15 to 20 heatwave days through to the end of that month.

Speaking at the National Disaster Risk Management Council’s meeting on Thursday, Spence commented on the unusual surface heat which the island has been experiencing in recent weeks.

“I know persons have been saying it’s really hot and although the temperatures have not gotten to the point where you can say we’re having heatwaves, the temperatures are warmer, and we are predicting warmer temperatures continuing for the June to August,” Spence said.

“We have above normal temperatures expected across the island, so we might have rainfall or we might not, and if we have a drought and it’s warmer, then the situation is not a very wonderful one for us, but let us see what plays out,” she said. Spence said a meeting has been convened to assess and ensure that all systems are in place. She said that while there is adequate staff, additional information and communication technology (ICT) capacity is needed and that is being addressed with the Government.


Remarking on the difference between last season and this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, she noted:

“What’s different for 2023? In 2022, you would have heard that we were in a La Niña phase, so in 2023, we’re telling you we’re in an El Niño or we are going into an El Niño phase, and the El Niño is basically the opposite of the La Niña,” Spence explained.

“We are expecting a normal season, so maybe you want to get relaxed, maybe not. You have warmer temperatures in the Atlantic, so there’s bit of a tug of war in the Pacific. Which will win in the end there?” she said.

Spence reasoned that warmer temperatures in the Atlantic could see Jamaica expecting above normal rainfall for the June to August period.

“But, if El Niño develops quicker than expected, we may not see this prediction being realised, so that’s why I am saying there is a tug of war and it is yet to be seen which side will win: Pacific or Atlantic,” she said.

La Niña gives you more hurricanes, while El Niño gives you less hurricanes, but maybe stronger hurricanes.

“However, I will remind you that although El Niño will result in less hurricanes, we only need one and I don’t need to go any further with that,” she said.

Spence elaborated that the Atlantic sea surface temperatures are very warm right now and getting warmer.

“The last observations we got (was) that they were warmer than 28 degrees Celsius,” she said.

On the other hand, she said the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook has indicated that Jamaica can expect a near normal season with a 40 per cent probability. This could see some 12 to 17 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and one to four major hurricanes.

She said Jamaica had “about an average season last year with the exceptions of the hurricane where we got eight, as opposed to seven”.

There is also a 30 per cent probability of above normal activity and predicted on the development of El Niño.