A Samoan meteorology expert for the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) says meteorological services are under-appreciated in the Pacific.
Fata Sunny Seuseu is the Climate Predictions Services Coordinator for S.P.R.E.P in Samoa. He presented a paper on the roles of Meteorology (Met) offices in the Pacific during a training with various journalists from the region in preparation for the Pacific Meteorological Council on August 14 - 18.
Fata says Met offices in the region face a common problem with communication and the media is the solution.
“What we need the most is communication, to be able to reach out. This is why we need to work together with the media to reach the public,” he said.
Fata agrees that for the most part, Meteorological offices are not credited for their contribution to some of the most important parts of their countries.
Some of these responsibilities lie with aviation and agriculture. Without the Met offices’ constant data collection, parts of the Pacific population who depend on agriculture for income would face hardships.
Tonga’s Met service Director ‘Ofa Fa’anunu says building capacity for the Pacific in Met services is crucial in keeping up with the responsibilities they are dealt with everyday. Tomorrow, Fa’anunu will be presenting on Cost Recovery for Aviation services and its ties to Met services.
The focus in that presentation will be on how much support Met Services need from their government to meet standards demanded by global aviation guidelines. “We need to train real meteorologists to take on the tasks of weather management for flights. There is no gray area when it comes to aviation and met services together. Its black and white, its either you meet the standard or you don’t,” he said.
Faanunu also said the number of lives that depend on having properly trained meteorologists is why they have to meet the standards. “The safety of people who travel by plane depends on the accuracy of the weather predictions so you can’t just put anyone to do those predictions, it has to be someone qualified,” he added.
For Fata, the problem is that people are not fully educated on how important the role of the Met office is in their countries. “Everything in the region is growing for the Met services.
We have new equipment and constant developments in the tools we use every day, but the people are lagging behind,” he said. “The reason behind them being behind is that we lack good communication with the people. It is crucial in terms of getting information out, hence why we rely so much on the media.”