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Tonga Met holds forum to improve climate information

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

From left, Moleni Tu'uholoaki (Tonga Met), Rev 'Elone Fakava, Hon Poasi Tei, Prof. Yuriy Kuleshov, and Seluvaia Finaulahi (Tonga Met). User's Climate Outlook Forum, Nuku'alofa. 27 March 2019.

Tonga Meteorological Services are working with communicators to improving climate and weather reporting. Users of weather information are attending a first User's Climate Outlook Forum, over two days, 27-28 March, hosted by Tonga Met at the National Reserve Bank Building, Nuku’alofa.

The Forum was officially opened by the Minister for MEIDECC, Hon Poasi Tei who highlighted the importance of the meeting.

“Today and tomorrow is an excellent opportunity for all sectors and users of climate information to exchange views with the MET Office as well as among yourselves to identify what works and what doesn’t work. To decide on what climate products to keep, throw away or to enhance.”

He said the forum should be an annual event and that it would become even more important in the future.

Better services

Professor Yuriy Kuleshov, Representative of the World Meteorology Organization (WMO) Climate Expert Community from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said this forum has an important role in building productive relationships between Tonga Meteorological Service and key stakeholders.  

“This is the first national forum of this kind, and we hope it will lead to establishing a sustained dialogue process through regular annual Users Climate Outlook Forums, which would facilitate improved understanding of users’ needs and requirements and provision of better climate and disaster services for addressing risks at national, local and community levels.”

He said Tonga is among the many small island countries that are extremely vulnerable to climate variability and disasters related to extreme weather and climate events affecting agriculture and food production, water resources, health and livelihoods.

"Understanding and making effective use of available climate and disaster information is therefore critical to ensure efficiency and sustainability, both in the current context and in the future."

Stakeholders attending the Users’ Climate Outlook Forum include representatives from various sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, water, energy, tourism, research and education, maritime, construction, health, non-government organizations, media, and the general public.

Tonga Meteorological Services currently provides weather and climate information and products daily, weekly, monthly or seasonally that supports key decision-making in preparing and responding to climate anomalies and extreme events.

The Users’ Climate Outlook Forum is funded by the World Meteorological Organization and the Government of Canada.