In 2019, Cuba recorded its highest annual mean temperature since 1951 with an average 28 degrees Celsius during the summer months, reported the Cuban Institute of Meteorology (INSMET), which places the last decade as the warmest of those on which it has data.
The year that has just ended was “extremely hot” with an increase of 1.1 degrees Celsius above the average recorded between 1961 and 1990, specified the report of the INSMET Climate Center, cited this Tuesday by the Cubadebate website.
These reports demonstrate a tendency toward an increase in temperature in Cuba. In 2019, 33 record highs were registered, including a new national record of 39.1 degrees Celsius in the province of Granma (east), the “highest on the island since records have been kept.”
On the Isla de la Juventud, the second largest island in the Cuban territory, the monthly record of absolute highs was broken in February, June, August, September and October.
The rains “were below the norm” in this period, partly due to the presence of Sahara dust in the atmosphere, which also intensified the sensation of heat in the country.
The perception of heat also increases with the intense humidity, which in August and September reaches 95 percent on the island.
A large percentage of Cubans don’t have an air conditioner in their homes due to its high price―not less than 350 dollars in a country where the average state salary doesn’t reach 45 dollars per month―, which is why traditional fans are the most widespread option to mitigate the heat.
Since 2017, Cuba has applied the state plan “Tarea Vida” to minimize the effects of climate change, which among other damages would bring about an increase in air temperature, a decrease in rainfall and an increase in the average sea level.
The Cuban government plans to mitigate these effects with several actions that involve reducing population settlements in threatened coastal areas, diversifying and adapting crops to new scenarios, conserving sandy beaches and guaranteeing the availability and efficient use of water.