TOKYO, Japan – Being a vulnerable island country, with limited resources, surrounded by the world’s largest body of water during cyclone season is enough to get even the best “weathermen” a little more than worried. But the Fiji Meteorological Service has often pushed above its weight and helped see Fiji through some of the worst Mother Nature has hurled at us.
Now our Nadi Weather Office is getting much needed boost thanks to the Japanese government through the Japan Meteorological Agency and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency. JMA and JICA have teamed up to provide specialised technical support to prepare Fiji to become a Regional Instrument Centre (RIC) for Meteorology.
What this basically means is that Fiji could essentially become the region’s “meteorological” hub and will be able to support other Pacific island countries to boost and enhance their meteorological service.
Should Fiji’s quest be successful, then our “weather office” will be responsible for calibrating the Pacific’s meteorological standards and related environmental monitoring instruments.
But it isn’t an easy process. JMA’s Senior Scientific Officer at the Office of International Affairs, Mr. Akira Okagami said Fiji will need to adhere to stringent requirements prescribed by the World Meteorological Organisation.
This includes having proper facilities and laboratory equipment, qualified technical staff and maintaining meteorological standards amongst a host of conditions. Which is why the JMA is helping Fiji towards this goal with assistance in “better analysing satellite imagery, temperature, atmospheric pressure and fine-tuning weather forecasting, especially for cyclones.”
As Fiji prepares to brace for hopefully another “uneventful” cyclone season from next month, it’s certainly reassuring to know that our weathermen are getting all the support they need, heading into the storm.
Story and Photos by Rachna Nath.