01 November 2022, Port Vila Vanuatu - The communities in Vanuatu stand to benefit more from the nation’s Tropical Cyclone Portal and other tools as they prepare for the upcoming Cyclone Season following a training on Tropical Cyclones held from 17-20 October 2022.
The four-day training for climatologists and climate officers of the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) Climate Division, who are responsible for the preparation of the tropical cyclone outlooks every year, was co-hosted by VMGD and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) as part of the VanKIRAP Project.
“I have learnt a lot of new things in the training, found it very useful,” said Glenda Pakoa, Principal Seasonal Climate Prediction Officer, VMGD.
“The highlight for me is the Tropical Cyclone Portal. In the past, I used to visit this portal, but I didn't know how to use it. Now after having gone through this training, everything is clear. I am now more confident in using the Tropical Cyclone Portal to serve clients that come to VMGD for TC information and to help answer their questions.
“I can visualise tropical cyclone data for Vanuatu for the past 50 years, download cyclone tracks, find the atmospheric pressure, locations and compare tropical cyclone occurrence in La Niña and El Niño years, and produce a tropical cyclone outlook for Vanuatu.”
The training was facilitated by Professor Yuriy Kuleshov, from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, Moirah Matou, VanKIRAP Project Manager for VMGD, and Sunny Seuseu, Climate Information Services Officer, SPREP. It included sessions on the science of tropical cyclones, data collection of data for TCs, Climatology of TCs, TCs in El Niño and La Niña years, the Southern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone portal and establishing a statistical methodology for the development of a tropical cyclone outlook.
At the request of VMGD, the training also helped develop a new statistical methodology using analogue years to produce tropical cyclone guidance for the upcoming 2022/23 tropical cyclone season.
On Day 3 of the training, participants prepared a draft statement on the risk of tropical cyclones. This statement will be officially published before the start of the tropical cyclone season in November to April next year.
“The highlight for me was the session on the new methodology we are now using to predict tropical cyclone occurrences for the upcoming season,” said John Ruben, Principal Climatologist, VMGD.
“The training has been very useful for me and VMGD in developing TC statements. I would like to thank Professor Kuleshov for making the time to come to Vanuatu and sit with us and have these one-on-one discussions which have been so beneficial for us.”
Professor Kuleshov said the highlight for him was “the interaction with my friends and colleagues at VMGD.”
Said Professor Kuleshov: “I really love it and found to be very rewarding. VanKIRAP deliver various climate information tools to allow VMGD to perform their duties to the highest standards but equally, or even more important for me personally, is building their capacity and confidence. Higher confidence goes hand in hand with higher capacity.
“It’s great to have good tools, but if colleagues cannot use them, or have limited understanding about those tools, it limits their confidence and how they can provide users with the service.”
“From my perspective, I am also very confident that this training delivered our objectives. Here is the understanding of tropical cyclones, here are the tools and here is the very high capacity of VMGD staff who can use this tool to work with clients and deliver a very good product at highest standard.”
Professor Kuleshov will be visiting Vanuatu again in 2023 to continue his capacity building work with VMGD under the VanKIRAP Project.
Funding for the training was provided through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF), SPREP and VMGD through the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for resilient development (Van CISRDP) project or VanKIRAP.