Improving Weather and Climate Forecasts for Pacific Communities

Bridging the gap between Information Technology and Pacific Meteorological Services to bring about improved weather and climate forecasts and warnings for Pacific communities is at the core of training held in Samoa this week.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is hosting Met Officers from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu for a one week workshop. The participants built their Information and Technology capacity learning basic computer programming that forms the basis of weather tools used for analysing weather information such as the SmartMet and SmartAlert Integrated Weather Forecasting Systems.

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Participants of the SmartMET Training. Photo | SPREP

"These new systems were installed in five Met services last year with Vanuatu having their system installed this year. We are now working to build the skills of the Met officers so they can use these tools well," said Mr. Sunny Seuseu the Climate Prediction Services Coordinator of SPREP.

"Overall it helps to strengthen their forecasting services they provide to their communities, every action we can do to help is a step in the right direction."

Over the period of the week the Met officers also shared their experiences and challenges they have come across in using the SmartMet.

The training was supported by the Finnish-Pacific (FINPAC) Project on reduced vulnerability of the Pacific island country villagers' livelihoods to the effects of climate change and the Government of Canada and the World Meteorological Organisation. FINPAC is a four year project funded by the Government of Finland and implemented by SPREP in partnership with the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

There were 12 participants at the workshop which was held from 2 – 6 May at the SPREP Campus in Vailima.
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