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Central American and Caribbean Workshop on Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Predictability of the Mid-Summer Drought

A one-week hands-on training on midsummer drought characteristics and prediction

 Antigua, Guatemala  3rd - 7th December 2018


Hydro-meteorological institutes around the world are looking at ways to improve their capacity to produce and deliver skillful and reliable forecasts of high-impact extreme events at sub-seasonal (20-90 days) to seasonal (~3-9 months) timescale. Improving subseasonal-to-seasonal predictions, assessing their skill and uncertainty, and exploring ways to communicate their benefits to decision-makers are significant challenges. The subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) WWRP/WCRP joint project is embracing all these challenges and, to promote this research, has created a new database with a set of multi-model S2S reforecasts and forecasts freely available.

The availability of S2S climate services is key for many managing decisions in agriculture and food security, disaster risk reduction, energy and health. Due to its relevance, there is a huge interest in Central American and Caribbean national hydro-meteorological agencies to acquire the necessary knowledge and tools to start producing reliable products at this timescale.

In particular, the mid-summer drought, or canícula, present in several locations of Central America and the Caribbean basin is of paramount importance for water and food security, and information on its occurrence, onset and demise is required by decision-makers in multiple sectors. The mid-summer drought is a phenomenon that occurs typically in July-August, but its characteristics (e.g., duration) are modulated by the independent or joint effect of climate drivers like El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH) and the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO).

To advance the understanding of the S2S physical mechanisms and sources of predictability related to the mid-summer drought characteristics, the Central American and Caribbean Workshop on Subseasonal-to-Seasonal Predictability will have a special focus on these issues. The participants will be exposed to different tools to monitor and analyze canícula’s characteristics, and to assess its S2S predictability and skill. The workshop is designed to have a strong component (approx. 70%) of practical sessions and “real-world exercises”. The classes will be given in both English and Spanish.

The workshop is co-organized by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) on behalf of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) for Latin America, and funded with support from the Flanders UNESCO Trust Fund and the Spanish Cooperation (AECID), that provide financial and logistical support through the Centre for Capacity Building in Antigua, Guatemala.


The objective of the workshop is to strengthen the capacities of the national hydro-meteorological agencies in Central America and the Caribbean, and of the participants in general, to strengthen the understanding of the mid-summer drought characteristics (e.g., onset, demise and duration), the physical mechanisms involved and of the potential for prediction of the Canícula using the Subseasonal-to-Seasonal modelling framework.

Proposed venue

Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española en La Antigua Guatemala  

Address: 6a ave Norte Antiguo Colegio de la Cía. de Jesús, Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala 

Profile of the participants

Given the technical characteristics of the workshop, the following requirements for the profile of potential candidates were identified:

  • Professional formation in hydrological or meteorological sciences
  • Professional experience in the management of water resources.
  • Technical knowledge of (preferred, but not required)
    • IRI’s Data Library
    • Climate Predictability Tool
  • Have access to historical daily precipitation records, ideally of 30 years, and ideally covering the totality of the measurement stations in the country. [Data preparation will occur before the workshop, and selected participants should plan for that]

Preliminary programme


3 Dec

4 Dec

5 Dec

6 Dec

7 Dec


Introduction to S2S


Sources of Predictability

 Mid-summer drought

Characteristics and context

 S2S forecasts


Skill assessment methodology

 Participant projects

Participant projects






 Participant projects

Conclusions and the way forward