Met services need to enhance role to combat drought

By Duane Mar of USP Journalism School and paper Wansolwara
24 July, 2015, Nuku’alofa, Tonga - Meteorological services need to enhance their role to combat severe drought effects, according to Chair of the Pacific Meteorological Council Mr. Ofa Fa'anunu.

 Speaking at the first Pacific Ministerial Meet on Meteorology (PMMM), Mr. Fa'anunu said national governments should support and resource National Met services in their countries.

OfaChair of the Pacific Meteorological Council Mr. Ofa Fa’anunu
"We have a role, to move national meteorological services from just information providers, to the centre of development planning and implementation," he said.

 Mr. Fa'anunu said enhancing and improving the functions of the met-service will help prepare for the effects of climate change and El Nino drought seasons.

 "Climate change is already on our doorstep, and I strongly believe that if we are able to prepare our people for the impact of a drought that is well forecasted, then we are already addressing the issue of our communities adaptation, through better decision making," he said.

 Mr. Fa'anunu said droughts are affecting the Pacific region and met-services must be enhanced to combat these threats to the Pacific people and communities.

 "Drought is an important issue that affects our lives in the Pacific. We must ensure that the roles of climate services are efficiently resourced, for example, to do seasonal forecasting," he said.

 Mr. Fa'anunu said droughts have impacted a lot of communities in the Pacific.
 "The lack of rainfall has adverse impacts on the livelihoods of the people of Tonga and other Pacific Islands," he said.
 Speaking on the effects of droughts, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Assistant Director for Climate Information Services, Neil Plummer mirrored Mr. Fa'anunu's views on drought issues.

 "We've got very similar experiences in Australia with El Nino, where much of the country feels the risk of drought. Some parts of Australia have been in drought for three years," he said.
 Mr. Plummer said with the 2015 El Nino upon us, it is important that climate services be recognised for what they represent and what they can do.

 "It is important, particularly now, in times where we do have the possibility of a strong El Nino that we look to the climate services to show that they can provide," he said. - #PacMC2015

Mr. Duane Mar is a journalism student of the University of the South Pacific, he writes for the Journalism paper – Wansolwara –

This article was developed by a Pacific Media Team of Reporters currently providing coverage on the Third Pacific Meteorological Council in Tonga.  This activity coordinated by SPREP is supported by a partnership including the Government of Tonga, SPREP, Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS). 
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