The St. Kitts Meteorological Services of the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority celebrates World Meteorological Day with international meteorological bodies around the world today. This year, the theme is “Climate knowledge for climate action”. According to the World Meteorology Organization (WMO), this theme provides an opportunity for us to take stock of the climate knowledge gathered in the last decades and support the path towards taking more ambitious action to address climate change and climate variability in our communities.
We at the Meteorological office work quietly behind the scenes of aviation and weather services on the island. A normal day begins at 6 a.m. where the officer on duty completes an aviation weather report for air traffic and international communities. They then compile the weather forecast and present weather conditions to the domestic public. This is followed by the calculation of the daily averages for the previous day; these averages are needed to calculate the climatology for the station. An hourly aviation report is then completed at the beginning of every hour or when certain thresholds in the weather are surpassed. This aviation report is important for safe landing and take-off of aircraft at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport. In the afternoon the officer compiles the afternoon forecast and forwards it to local end users.
Today, we celebrate our workers in the field as they are passionate about advancing their knowledge in weather or climate sciences to better serve SCASPA and the country by extension. We recognize the services of Delver Martin, Denton Wynter, Vincia Browne, Vincere Benjamin, Denel Dixon, Sean Buchanan, Deavon Williams, Don Grant, and Elmo Burke. We also recognize the contributions of past Meteorology workers who worked diligently while in service. These include Maurice Mills, Elsworth Warner, Kurt Louard, Contave Greene, Teshelle Francis, Cheryl Jeffers, Raymond John, Kevin Jeffers, Robert Warner, and the late Sinclair Maynard. We truly appreciate our staff and remain steadfast in developing the capacity of the meteorological team by ensuring that they participate in local and regional developmental opportunities. Earlier this year, a member of the department participated in a regional training workshop that exposed participants to new climate service tools such as drought prediction model. Our workers will continue to attend such development trainings to ensure that a qualified cadre of workers serves our island.
Over the upcoming months, the St. Kitts Meteorological Services will be acquiring additional equipment to enhance our climate services capacity; and there will be a short visit by a reconnaissance aircraft better known as ‘hurricane hunter’ and its crew of meteorologists and other supportive staff from April 23-24th 2015. This visit by the reconnaissance aircraft is operated by the National Hurricane Centre (NHC) and the National Weather Services (NWS), both United States government departments that monitor weather systems in the United States and also the Atlantic region. Additionally, in keeping with this year’s theme for World Meteorology Day, SCASPA will also continue to partner with various stakeholders locally and regionally to build the capacity of the island to monitor and observe climate variability and better position the office to communicate the relevant meteorological and climate services to various local end users. This will ensure that stakeholders are equipped to make timely and informed decisions to mitigate potential losses that can be caused by hydro-meteorological events and climate variability.
We at the Meteorological office will continue to make decisions in keeping with our international counterparts to address climate change and provide timely information so that a deeper appreciation and knowledge can be fostered among our communities.
Our climate concerns us all. It is everyone’s business and we call on the society to continue to partner with the St. Kitts Meteorological Services.
by Elmo Burke, MSc.