Caribbean drought – a glimpse of the future under climate change

Toby Ault, professor in Cornell’s department of earth and atmospheric sciences says the drought conditions throughout the Caribbean are a possible glimpse of what climate change will look like. Ault was the lead researcher on several recent studies that predicted prolonged drought risk in the Caribbean region – as well as many parts of the United States—is increasing from climate change

Media Note: Graphics showing drought risk through the Caribbean and Ault’s recent studies can be downloaded at,

Por favor dale nota que Toby Ault está disponible para ser entrevistado en español.


Ault says:

“It is important to recognize that what is happening now in the Caribbean is likely to be a glimpse at the kinds of things that are more probable under climate change and not just a rare event.

“A decadal drought is defined as a drought as bad as those of the 20th century, but lasting 10 years, while a multidecadal megadrought is just as bad but could last 35 years or longer.

“The risk of decadal – 10 year – and multidecadal – 35 year – drought in the Caribbean will continue to become much higher because of climate change than it has been in the past. Decadal drought risk may be as high as 40 to 50 percent by the end of this century, whereas multidecadal megadrought risk is likely to be between 30 and 40 percent.”


Ault dice:

“Es importante reconocer que lo que está ocurriendo en el Caribe, es probablemente un vistazo al tipo cosas que serán más comunes durante el cambio climático y no un evento inusual.

“Una sequía decadal se define como una sequía tan severa como las ocurridas en el Siglo 20 en Norteamérica pero que se mantiene 10 años, mientras que una megasequía multidecadal es tan grave como la anterior pero se prolonga hasta 35 años o más

“En el Caribe, el riesgo de sequías de 10  y 35 años continuará incrementándose respecto a años anteriores debido al cambio climático. Para el final del presente siglo, el riesgo de sequías decadales es de un 40 a un 50 por ciento, mientras que la probabilidad de una megasequía multidecadal es entre un 30 y 40 por ciento.”



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