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Weather-Ready, Climate-Smart – World Meteorological Day 2018

World Meteorological Day is celebrated all across the world by the member states of meteorological organizations every year on 23rd of March. It is an annual event being commemorated yearly by the almost 191 meteorological organization members as well as the meteorological communities worldwide. Each year, the day is commemorated under the banner of a particular theme that reflects the importance and relevance of these services to mankind. “Weather-Ready and Climate –Smart” is the theme of World Meteorological Day.

The main focus of the theme is based on long term climate change that is increasing, along with the frequency of extreme weather and climate events that is also on the rise. Those events are giving way to sea level rise and ocean acidification, so as a Globe we need to be Weather-Ready and Climate-Smart.

The 23rd of March also marks the coming into force of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the signing of the charter establishing the Organization which is now 191 countries strong. Over the past 50 years plus, watching and predicating the weather has become a highly sophisticated scientific activity, and in particular, protecting life and property.

Improved scientific weather forecasting has saved many lives and contributed enormously to sustainable development globally, with the National Meteorological Service of Belize being no exception. Everyone from the farmer, city planner, water manager disaster manager, tour guide, to government officials has benefited from modern weather and climate services we provide.

Networks of observation stations from the foundation to scientific weather predictions. Underscoring the theme for World Meteorological Day 2018 “Weather-Ready, Climate-smart”, the National Meteorological Service (NMS) of Belize is in the process of upgrading its observation network with the installation of suite of automatic weather stations to be completed this year. These will provide real time observations of critical weather elements over both land and out at sea.

Currently the NMS operates 17 Automatic Weather Stations that transmit data via data-modems every 30 mins or via satellite every hour. An additional 33 stations with high precision rain gauges will be added to the observation network this year, with each station having the ability to add more sensors in the future. All this data will then be sent to our web-based database “HydrometDB” where it is stored and data is proceed and viewed by forecasters, meteorologists and stakeholders. “HydrometDB” currently stores all weather station data and interacts seamlessly with our website to give the latest weather information as soon as it is collected and also facilitates the display of daily data from each station over the past 6 months. Our observation techniques also extend to the use of remote sensing instruments which include our radar, the newly launched GOES-16 weather satellite and our newly installed sea level gauge. As such we are implementing new methods of data collection and improving our data processing and manipulation to ensure that Belize is ready for any weather phenomenon and able to issue Climate products relevant to stakeholders and the general public.

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