World Meteorological Day 2023: The Future of Weather, Climate and Water across Generations

By Christal Benjamin

The Association of Caribbean States (ACS) joins the global community in commemorating World Meteorological Day 2023 under the theme, “The Future of Weather, Climate and Water across Generations”. The theme highlights the achievements of the past, the progress of the present and the potential of the future. It explores the development of hydrological and meteorological technology- from telegraphs and shipping forecasts in the 19th century to supercomputers and space technology in the 20th century. It presents us with the opportunity to reflect on the legacy of scientific vision, technological advancements and international cooperation without which we could not receive accurate weather forecasts and early warnings, which help to keep us safe today.

As part of its activities to commemorate World Meteorological Day, the ACS attended the Trinity College East Technology Education Open Day which was held on 20 March, 2023. The objective of this event was to showcase innovative early warning system (EWS) projects designed by students of Form Two (2), pursuing studies in Technology Education. The student projects included fire, flood and hurricane early warning systems targeted at diverse audiences, including people with disabilities, youth, the elderly and the general public. At the event, the students captivated the audience with in-depth explanations of their design processes and demonstrations of how the early warning systems employ modern technology to monitor and detect hazards and disseminate alerts. Several projects featured designs aimed at enhancing response capability through the delivery of alerts to mobile devices such as cellular phones and wrist bands.

Christal Benjamin, Disaster Risk Reduction Research Assistant within the Directorate for Disaster Risk Reduction, Environment and the Caribbean Sea represented the ACS at the open day and had the opportunity to engage with the future generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. When asked about the length of time that it took to design the projects and their hopes for the future, the students noted that the entire process spanned eleven (11) weeks and they had divided tasks such as coding, research, construction of the prototypes and preparation for the presentations among themselves. They expressed their hopes to scale up their projects in the future and deliver early warning technology which could improve communication and disseminations of warnings, thus enabling people to take early action in times of disaster. The students were also asked to share a message with youth in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean to encourage them to contribute to a more resilient Caribbean region through the use of science and technology. One student, Jayden Solomon had this to say, “Once you have technology at your hand take advantage of the opportunity and do something to make a difference in society”.

Technology Education Teacher and Organiser of the Open Day, Mr. Alvin Brown noted the importance of engaging students in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) and honing their skills, creativity and talents through practical exercises such as these. An investment in youth education, mentorship and training is an investment in the future of weather, climate and water.

On the occasion of World Meteorological Day, the ACS celebrates past achievements and present progress in the development of hydrological and meteorological systems, which facilitate the collection and exchange of standardised data for early warning and early action. In view of the future and the important role that youth must play in building a safe and resilient Caribbean region, the ACS also celebrates the work of the teachers and students at Trinity College East and looks forward to continued engagement with regional youth involved in disaster risk management.

The ACS through its Plan of Action 2022 to 2028 continues to mobilise regional and international partnerships to improve data exchange and hydrological and meteorological service delivery in the Greater Caribbean Region. Let us work continue to work together to build a disaster and climate resilient region. Happy World Meteorological Day!

Christal Benjamin is a Research Assistant in the Directorate for Disaster Risk Reduction, Environment and Caribbean Sea with a specialty in Disaster Risk Management. Any comments or feedback should be submitted to [email protected].

About the ACS

The Association of Caribbean States is the organization for consultation, cooperation and concerted action in trade, transport, sustainable tourism and natural disasters in the Greater Caribbean. Its Member States are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela. Its Associate Members are Aruba, Curacao, (France on behalf of French Guiana, Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin ), Guadeloupe, Martinique, Sint Maarten, (The Netherlands on behalf of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius ), Turks and Caicos.