Rains, Droughts and Climatic Change in the Dominican Republic
By: Hector Rodriguez (National Institute of Hydraulic Resources of the Dominican
In the Dominican Republic, the effects of climatic change on the rainy season have resulted in a change of weather patterns throughout the entire year. The patterns of droughts have also changed, and it is estimated that, due to the phenomenon of climate change, the impact of droughts will increase in the coming decades.
According to recent years' statistics, rain in some seasons has been displaced
to other months, for example, to June and December. In some regions of the country,
documented imbalances between natural resources, population, and basic needs are
of import and concern. Imbalances are more marked and notorious in semiarid, less
humid, and dry regions.
Semiarid and dry regions make up 18% of the land surface of the DR and are characterized
by a negative water balance throughout almost the entire year.
As a result of climatic change, extreme weather events (both droughts and rains)
have become more intense and violent. It is foreseeable that in the most pessimistic
scenario, future availability of water resources could also result in a significant
decrease in the impact of hurricanes on the national geography.
Prior to the 1960's, the measure of precipitation used in the design of hydraulic
works was 60 mm/h. After Hurricane David of 1979, this estimate turned out to
be lower than value of 80 mm/h, registered in Guayabal, Padre Las Casas, between
the 23rd and 24th hours of the hurricane. During Hurricane George, precipitation
of 104 mm/h was recorded in El Platón de Villa Nizao between midnight and
1:00AM on September 23, 1998. These figures indicate that in the last 50 years
the maximum intensity of rains to be accounted for in the design of hydraulic
works in the DR has increased by 40%.
Seminar "Climate Change and its Impact on the Dominican
Republic and the Caribbean" Santo Domingo, April 20, 2006. Presentations