HAVANA, Aug 10. July was the hottest month in Cuba since 1951, authorities reported, with soaring temperatures on land and at sea putting further strain on the country’s unstable electrical grid, as well as straining the island’s fragile ocean resources.
The average temperature in July reached 29.1 degrees Celsius, indicated the Climate Center of the state Institute of Meteorology in a report cited by the official newspaper Granma.
According to experts, the highest report of the seventh month just ended was the 39 degrees registered on July 22 at the Jucarito weather station in Granma.
August does not look like it will be left behind. Meteorologist Elier Pila Fariñas reported on his Twitter profile that on Tuesday, August 8, in that same town, the thermometer rose to 38.8 °C, the highest value reported in Cuba in a month of August.
In its report, the Climate Center indicated that sea surface temperatures have also risen around the Caribbean and tropical Atlantic Ocean, leading to expectations of the development of more tropical storms and hurricanes during the current hurricane season, which ends in November.
Cuban meteorologists expect 13 named storms during the current season, little more than the forecast from last May, when they anticipated the formation of 11 organisms of that nature.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned earlier this month that warmer waters around Florida could overburden tropical storms and hurricanes.
Already 2022 was, according to Cuban scientists, the third hottest year in seven decades, with a temperature of 0.88 degrees Celsius above average.
According to the report on the State of the Climate in Cuba 2022, prepared by the Institute of Meteorology and the Institute of Marine Sciences, “the years 2019-2022 are the warmest since 1951″ and 2022 “contributed to accentuating the tendency to increase the average temperature in Cuba”.
The records on the Island indicate that the average temperatures since 1951 have increased by one degree Celsius (from 25 to 26 degrees) and the forecast of scientists is that this upward trend will continue.
The Cuban study points out that all the months of 2022 registered an increase in the average temperature with respect to the historical average, and that the percentage of warm days was among the 11 highest in the last 44 years.
The report also highlights that last year the relative average annual sea level reached “the highest value in its entire history”, rising to 30.85 centimeters.
The forecast is that the sea level in Cuba will reach 29.3 centimeters by 2050 and 95 cm in 2100, above the 27 and 85 centimeters, respectively, that had been previously estimated.
Eduardo Planos, a researcher at the Cuban Institute of Meteorology, warned that the air temperature continues to increase on the island, which can be read as an effect of climate change.
During the XIV International Convention on Environment and Development, the researcher commented that this warming, which gives rise to suffocating temperatures, will mainly occur in summer, the hottest period of the year, and will be greater as time progresses.
“Climate change brings consequences for Cuba in aspects such as the so-called basic system: climate, water, humidity deficit, and sea level rise,” he said, adding that this process affects both human health and agriculture.
“All our investigations confirm that the climate in Cuba has changed, especially in terms of temperatures and rainfall,” Planos said. It is precisely the extreme weather events that have become more frequent on the Island, as shown by the intense rains last June, which caused enormous damage and the death of six people in the eastern provinces.