Approximately 150 persons across the island are being trained in operating, collecting and recording data using rain gauges and automatic weather stations. The individuals involved are voluntary observers and automatic weather station partners of the Meteorological Service Division (MSJ). Their capacity is being built through a partnership between the MSJ and the Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project (ICDIMP) being implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ).
Seven training sessions are being held to cater to participants and, so far, two have already been executed. The first session for individuals in St. Catherine and Clarendon took place at the Bodles Research and Training Centre in St. Catherine on Wednesday, July 19, 2018 and was attended by 19 individuals. The second session was held at Appleton Estate in St. Elizabeth on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 and involved 29 individuals from Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
“In light of climate change, the use of climate data for decision making in our daily lives and livelihoods has become increasingly significant. Improving the quality and use of this information is therefore key to building resilience and protecting lives. While the project has procured 35 automatic weather stations which have all been installed across the island by the MSJ, we also think that it is important to improve the capacity of the partners and individuals who interact with climate data collection equipment on a daily basis,” said Christena McCarthy, Project Assistant for the ICDIMP, in underscoring the importance of the training sessions.
The ICDIMP aims to improve the quality and use of climate related data and information for effective planning and action at local and national levels, through the strengthening of meteorological observation and data collection systems among other things. The project is funded by the Climate Investment Funds administered through the World Bank, and is being implemented by the PIOJ and other partners, including the MSJ.
“We have to ensure that everyone is fully aware of the international standards as it regards collecting and recording information and that they abide by them. It is this data which is collected that allows us to refine our climate products especially for our farmers who need rainfall and weather data to guide their farming practices. If there are discrepancies in equipment operation and data collection, then we will not be able to properly use the information to make decisions,” said Andrew Hanchard, Meteorological Technician at the MSJ, speaking during the first training session.
Participants have been very receptive to the training material. Cecelia Campbell, a voluntary observer from Clarendon, shared that, “It was a very informative session. Learning that the data which is captured can be used in so many other ways afterwards gives you a greater sense of responsibility and makes you even more committed to ensuring that you perform your duties well. I recommend that they continue to have similar sessions on a regular basis.”
Ms. Campbell’s sentiments were echoed by Stephen Sharpe, an automatic weather station partner from St. Catherine. “The sessions reinforced that it is not just about collecting and recording the data but implementing measures to ensure proper care and maintenance of the equipment, as well as being sensible and vigilant as it regards the area in which it is set up, because you need to make sure that there is nothing in the surrounding environment that can compromise the data,” he said.
For further information, please contact:
The Planning Institute of Jamaica
16 Oxford Road, Kingston 5, Jamaica
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