Recent climatic fluctuation on a small tropical island: the case of Barbados, West Indies

Nurse, Leonard Alfred (1979) Recent climatic fluctuation on a small tropical island: the case of Barbados, West Indies. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Climate is nowhere invariant, it is ever changing. For many decades now climatologists have recognized this and have attempted to analyse and explain the magnitude, direction and spatial extent of such change. At the same time scientists have postulated several theories to account for known fluctuations and altogether a very extensive literature has been built up around the subject. Yet, there seems to be a relative dearth of detailed investigations of low-latitude climatic fluctuations; for the most part researchers in the past have tended to concentrate on analyses involving the middle and high latitudes. The present work, therefore, is offered as a contribution to a better understanding of climatic variation in a vastly neglected low-latitude region, the Caribbean. -- This study attempts to assess the magnitude and direction of recent climatic fluctuations on the island of Barbados. More specifically, it sets out primarily to identify long-term fluctuations and trends in the island's climatic data, as they may exist, since 1900. Throughout the analysis an attempt is made, wherever possible, to compare and relate these fluctuations and trends to postulated global and hemispheric changes and to other low-latitude climatic fluctuations and atmospheric circulation changes which have been recently observed. -- Chapter 1 provides a general introduction to the study area and focuses primarily on relevant background information relating to the island's climate. -- In Chapter 2 a comprehensive outline of the main types of data, data sources and methodological procedures is given. Here, a particular emphasis is placed on the main statistical techniques employed in the analysis. -- The following chapter is devoted to a full investigation of long-term fluctuations and trends identified for selected climatic parameters. These variables include air temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind velocity, sunshine hours, relative humidity and cloud cover. In the final part of this chapter there is a brief discussion of the relative merits of a few theories of climatic change. -- In the fourth chapter there is a detailed analysis of rainfall fluctuations across the island. This involves a thorough investigation of temporal variations in the island mean rainfall and also an analysis of the temporal and spatial patterns exhibited by seven selected rainfall stations. Partial explanations for these fluctuations are posited and an attempt is made to relate these patterns to observed hemispheric and tropical atmospheric circulation changes. -- Chapter 5 deals exclusively with fluctuations and changes in the frequency of the major synoptic scale systems which affect the island's weather. These systems include hurricanes, tropical storms and depressions and local convectional (thunder) storms. In this chapter there is also an attempt to examine the relationships between rainfall and these weather systems. -- Finally, chapter 6 is a concise summary of some of the major findings and results previously discussed; a very brief evaluation of the work is also given.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7825
Item ID: 7825
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 134-137.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 1979
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Barbados;
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Climatic changes--Barbados; Barbados--Climate;

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