Press Release-CMO Caribbean Weather Forecasting Initiative

Supporting Research and Improving Weather Forecasting

The Caribbean Weather Forecasting Initiative is part of the international scientific research campaign, Elucidating the Role of Clouds-Circulation Coupling in Climate (EUREC4A), which will be based out of Barbados from 20 January to 20 February 2020. The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) is a lead institution in EUREC4A, which was initiated by Germany and France, and includes other European countries as well as the United States, whose component is the Atlantic Tradewind Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Interaction Campaign (ATOMIC).

The Forecasting Initiative was proposed by the University of Leeds and the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) Headquarters Unit, and organized in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), the technical organ of the CMO.

The EUREC4A-CMO Caribbean Weather Forecasting Initiative is developing capacity within the CMO and neighbouring Caribbean States through forecasting activities linked to the EUREC4A field campaign. It is promoting knowledge-exchange between forecasters and researchers, and comprises:

  • a Pre-EUREC4A training workshop that was held 2-6 December 2019;
  • a Virtual forecast testbed where forecasters will contribute their local expertise to support research operations during the field study;
  • and a Post-field study workshop to summarize lessons learned and knowledge gained to help Caribbean weather and climate prediction.

The Pre-EUREC4A workshop brought together 16 forecasters from 12 Caribbean states and territories, prominent researchers, and Caribbean lecturers to participate in lectures and practical exercises. The workshop resulted in the expansion of forecasters' skill, especially related to dry-season conditions. From the forecasters, the researchers gained knowledge of weather variability that will influence their research mission flight planning. The forecast testbed plans were drafted at the end of the workshop and dry-runs of the virtual test-bed briefings were conducted with researchers in the United Kingdom after the workshop. Forecasters also had the opportunity to describe their own numerical weather prediction models and to develop recommendations and ideas for the use of numerical weather prediction in their routine operations..

During the forecast testbed, the participants will work in dispersed teams, collaborating via online communication systems to deliver weather forecasts that the scientists in EUREC4A need for mission planning. The testbed participants will evaluate the forecasts using near real-time information gathered during the project. A follow-up workshop will consolidate information learned during the testbed.

TThe EUREC4A Caribbean Weather Forecasting Initiative supports the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Severe Weather Forecast Programme (SWFP) in the Eastern Caribbean by developing collaborative practice among regional forecasters for predicting non-tropical cyclone severe weather, which can occur any time of year. It is also helping forecasters understand the strengths and limitations of high-resolution numerical weather prediction models. The SWFP Eastern Caribbean is co-chaired by Météo France Martinique and the CMO Headquarters.

The involvement of weather forecast offices across the Caribbean will help to translate the EUREC4A field study research into an improved regional early warning system for severe weather. The workshops are supported by the Natural Environment Research Council, United Kingdom, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Caribbean Project.

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