BONAIRE:--- The (Dutch) Caribbean islands are facing unprecedented challenges posed by climate change, including rising sea levels, intensifying hurricanes, heat waves, and heavy rainfall. In response to these threats, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) has published climate scenarios for the BES islands. In addition, a collaborative effort is underway to develop a Climate Impact Atlas for the BES islands, providing a crucial foundation for informed decision-making and sustainable development. In the week of October 16th, workshops and public lectures will be held on Curaçao and on Bonaire to share developments in climate information and management perspectives, and to discuss priorities for further development.
The KNMI'23 climate scenarios were presented to Minister Harbers on October 9th. Even in the most optimistic scenario, the climate will continue to change in the future, with major consequences for the Caribbean. The scenarios show that the Caribbean will become warmer and drier. This will be experienced as warmer periods during the rainy season and drier weather during the dry season. Of particular concern for Bonaire is sea level rise, which could be limited under the low emissions scenario, but could reach over one meter by 2100 under the high emissions scenario. The upper limit could be over 3 meters if uncertain processes, such as the Antarctic ice sheet becoming less stable, occur before 2100. On St Eustatius and Saba, the likelihood of severe hurricanes with heavy rainfall increases in the future. A Future Weather experiment shows that Hurricane Irma would have had even higher wind speeds and rainfall rates in a warmer climate.
The first version of the Climate Impact Atlas for the BES Islands is set to be developed in 2023, representing the initial phase of an ongoing initiative. This Climate Impact Atlas will translate scientific knowledge into accessible insights, offering essential information on climate change. The project was started in April 2023 and a demonstration of the concept for Bonaire will be included in the upcoming workshop in October. As the year concludes, the online Climate Impact Atlas, along with a roadmap for future developments, will be unveiled.
Financed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, with the CAS Foundation as the coordinator, the Climate Impact Atlas has garnered support from various organizations. Other contributing organizations include the Openbaar Lichaam Bonaire (OLB), TERRAMAR Museum, EcoVision, Wageningen Environmental Research (WENR), Instituut voor Milieuvraagstukken (VU-IVM), Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI), Technische Universiteit Delft (TU Delft), Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), Informatiehuis Marien, Deltares, RVO.nl, en het Koninklijk Instituut van Taal-Land- en Volkenkunde (KITLV) and Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA).
This project is closely related to other regional projects such as the development of a Climate Impact Atlas for Curacao: "KlimaKòrsou", Restoration of Resilience Dutch Caribbean, SEALINK, and Paratus.
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In the research programme Islanders at the Helm researchers and civil society partners work together to offer/propose tailor-made solutions based on thorough interdisciplinary research. The aim is to develop new, sustainable, and inclusive strategies in the face of current climate challenges. A Transatlantic Platform (TAP) has been developed to offer courses, lectures, and workshops to promote knowledge and awareness of climate challenges. The Universities in the region, such as the University of the West Indies St. Augustine Campus (Trinidad & Tobago - British Caribbean), University of the US Virgin Islands (UVI- US Caribbean), the Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean (Curaçao - Dutch Caribbean), Instituto Pedagogico Arubano (Aruba – Dutch Caribbean), The National Archaeological Museum Aruba (Aruba – Dutch Caribbean) and the University of St. Martin (Sint Maarten and Saint Martin – Dutch and French Caribbean), are integral partners in the TAP having hosted prior lecture series. There is a recognition that Kingdom-wide collaboration goes hand in hand with integration in the wider Caribbean basin. As part of the latest installation of the TAP, there will be public lectures and workshops on Bonaire and Curaçao:
A Public lecture for Curaçao on October 17th will be organized in collaboration with NAAM (National Archaeological Anthropological Memory Management) and the Curaçao Climate Change Platform:
A public lecture for Bonaire on October 19th will be organized in collaboration with Terramar Museum: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/islanders-at-the-helm_public-lecture-19-october-2023-location-activity-7115267851241828352--8Zi?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop