The Organization

Members

The CMO comprises the following sixteen (16) Member States:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Role of the CMO

The CMO undertakes the coordination of the joint scientific activities of the respective National Meteorological Services, the establishment of joint technical facilities and systems, the provision of joint training facilities, and the promotion of a reliable severe weather warning system to safeguard the region. The CMO provides support and advice to governments in the development of their Meteorological and Hydrometeorological Services and in dealing with issues of an international nature affecting weather, water and climate, and represents the regional meteorological community's interests in relation to international civil aviation matters. The CMO also works closely with regional agencies involved in disaster preparedness, response and relief.

Organizational Structure of the CMO

There are four arms of the CMO. The Governing Body of the Organization is the Caribbean Meteorological Council (CMC), comprising government Ministers responsible for meteorology or their representatives. The CMC meets annually to, among others, set policy, approve joint projects and budgets. The Headquarters Unit of the CMO is located in Port of Spain, Trinidad and is headed by a Coordinating Director. Coordination of joint activities and project formulation and implementation are among the functions undertaken by the Headquarters. The CMO's training arm, the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), is located in Barbados. The CIMH, originally the Caribbean Meteorological Institute, provides training for the region's weather observers and technicians, weather forecasters, specialists in hydrology, agrometeorology and other related disciplines. The CIMH provides training to the Major in Meteorology in the Faculty of Pure & Applied Sciences Bachelor of Science degree, in cooperation with the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. The CIMH also serves as the CMO's research and climate centre, as well as the regional instrument calibration and maintenance centre. The Caribbean Meteorological Foundation (CMF) was established to raise funds for the promotion, through the CIMH, of the study and research of meteorology and allied sciences.

Some Other Joint Facilities and Projects Activities

The CMO Upper-air Network: - The CMO, in partnership with the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration / National Weather Service (NOAA / NWS), operates a network of rawinsonde stations that make daily soundings of the atmosphere. The stations are located in Belize, Barbados, Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Trinidad. Data from the stations is shared and used by all CMO Members and the international meteorological community.

The CMO Weather Radar Network: - The CMO Weather Radar Network: - In the late 60s and early 70s, the CMO established the first regional network of weather radars, located in Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago. In 2009, the CMO completed the implementation of a 13-million EURO project, designed by the CMO and WMO, funded by the European Union, to replace the old radars by a new network of Doppler weather radars that link up with existing radars of other countries to form an electronic radar composite of the Caribbean. In April 2013, the CMO completed a project for the construction and commissioning of a similar Doppler radar in the Cayman Islands. Radar status and performance are continuously evaluated with upgrades made as necessary. The CMO and its regional partners, through the facilities of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), have collaborated to create operational composites of data from these CMO-Member radars with those from other countries in North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Regional Meteorological Telecommunication Network: - The CMO routinely assists its Member States in establishing or upgrading Regional Meteorological Telecommunication Networks, as part of the overall global system operated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These networks and systems enable the National Meteorological Services to freely exchange atmospheric, terrestrial and ocean observational data and forecast and climatic products with any part of the world. A special component of the network component carries meteorological data for aviation purposes. Over the years, the system has transitioned from a purely terrestrial system to a satellite-based system and currently (from 2012) to a combination of satellite and web-based system. The CMO collaborates with WMO in planning and implementing the systems in CMO Member States.

Regional Hurricane and Severe Weather Warning System[s]: The National Meteorological Services of CMO Member States collaborate very closely in operating an early-warning system for any tropical storms, hurricanes and other severe weather that affect the region. This involves surveillance by weather satellites, weather radars, ocean buoys, ships, aircraft and land stations. The CMO hurricane warning system includes a back-up arrangement between Meteorological Services of Member States and is operated as part of a wider regional system operated by the WMO. CMO is leading the establishment of a WMO Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (2017-18) covering the islands from Trinidad in the south to Puerto Rico in the north, with special arrangements for Haiti, that will increase collaboration among the English-, French-, Dutch- and Spanish-speaking islands on severe weather events. A major backdrop to this Project is a formal set of Working Arrangements, signed in 2016, between CMO and the Meteorological Service of France (Météo-France).

Regional Climate-related Projects: - The CMO, either through its Headquarters or the CIMH, is actively involved in the coordination or implementation of a number of climate-related projects for the Caribbean. These include projects on regional effects of the El Niño phenomenon; adaptation to climate change in the Caribbean; development of the Caribbean component of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS); upgrading meteorological facilities in relation to climate change, projects designed to improve regional freshwater assessment and management as well as projects for the increase and sustainability of regional agricultural productivity through improved applications of weather and climate information. The CMO is playing a critical role in guiding Members in the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) – an initiative led by WMO and partners in the UN and elsewhere. As a contribution to the GFCS, CMO’s climate arm, the CIMH, began functioning as a WMO Regional Climate Centre for the Caribbean from May 2017.

Relationship with CMO and its Members with the WMO

Several of the independent CMO Member States are also individual Members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The British Overseas Territories are also Members of the WMO as a single group (British Caribbean Territories). They are represented in the WMO by the Coordinating Director of the CMO, who also served for period as the Second Vice-President of WMO. Membership of the WMO enables the CMO Members to contribute to and benefit from global scientific activities, technical facilities, training and technical assistance to developing countries. This includes the free global exchange of meteorological data and products via the WMO Global Telecommunication System. Formal collaboration between CMO and WMO is governed by a set of “Working Arrangements”.

The CMO is one of several regional organizations around the world that are considered critical to the overall global coordination of meteorological and hydrological activities by the WMO. This is particularly true in dealing with large number of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The National Meteorological Services of Member States

The National Meteorological Services (NMS) of the CMO Member States are responsible for meteorological, hydrometeorological and related scientific matters within their national boundaries. The smaller ones may receive support in this regard from a neighbouring Member State. The NMSs can be placed into two technical categories, even though at varying degrees of sophistication.

(a) Weather Forecast and Warning Offices. These Offices operate essentially round-the-clock and year-round. They undertake surface and upper-atmospheric weather observations; exchange vast volumes of meteorological data regionally and internationally; prepare weather forecasts and warnings of severe weather for the public, aviation, marine, agriculture, water resources and industrial interests; and, undertake studies of weather and climate situations and phenomena.

(b) Aeronautical Meteorological Offices. These Offices undertake weather observations mainly in support of the public and the aviation industry, and carry out climate functions. Their hours of operation are determined by aeronautical requirements.

The CMO Member States with Weather Forecast and Warning Offices are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Member States with Aeronautical Meteorological Offices are Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.