Geography, climate and weather in Barbados - The Traveller


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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Geography, climate and weather in Barbados

Barbados is an island a little apart in the Caribbean landscape. Look on a map: it is the only one that is not aligned along the West Indies. The reason? It is not, like the others, a volcanic island. Yet it is good, too, the result of movements of the earth's crust - and more specifically the shift from the North American Plate beneath the Caribbean plate.

But the subduction, partly blocked by the "barrier" of the West Indies, is imperfect, causing deformation of the crust of the two plates. Barbados is one of these deformations: it was formed by the ascent to the surface of marine sediments drawn into the movement. We talk about the phenomenon of abduction. Trinidad, to the south, is the result of the same geological process.

Pear-shaped, Barbados is a relatively flat island, rising to no more than 336 m at Mount Hillaby in the center of the land. So nothing spectacular, although the east and north coasts are outlined in places by cliffs battered by the Atlantic swell. Sediment, the island is riddled with caves, like the famous Harrison's Cave. Rain water seeping into underground systems and rivers are few surface.

This does not preclude a third of the island to be cultivated. Sugar cane, which was the heyday of the Barbados economy, however, is in steep decline. Production costs are now higher than world prices and the industry survived only through specialized products: sugar "luxury", molasses for rum (3 distilleries) and raw material for the development of electricity generation from biomass.


The dry period, which corresponds to the peak season runs roughly from December to May (and more precisely from February to April). The rest of the year, the rains are more frequent, but they are mainly concentrated in the late afternoon, in the form of short, intense showers (known to swallow in the French West Indies).
In practice, you can always count on 8-9 hours of sunshine daily, regardless of the period! The windward side (east) is more rain than the leeward coast. Temperatures range between 21 ° C and 31 ° C.

Barbados is rarely hit by hurricanes, they usually go to the north. The last episode really destructive (35 dead) dates back to 1955. Most hurricanes occur from June to November, but in recent years, the "season" lasts until early December.
Information from the National Hurricane Center, the U.S. dedicated to tracking hurricanes in real time (in English).

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