6 March 2017 Majuro, Marshall Islands– In a first for the North Pacific, the Marshall Islands Weather Service will host an Oceans and Tides Workshop this week (6-10 March) in coordination with the Pacific Community (SPC) in an effort to increase knowledge, technical capacity, understanding and application of ocean science for improved decision-making and disaster preparedness.
Developed and funded through the Australian Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), the workshop, held at the Marshall Islands Resort, also includes participants from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kiribati.
As Director for Marshall Islands Weather Service, Reginald White reports, “In RMI, communities continue to witness sea level rise, extreme king tides, and more frequent severe inundations, so being able to better monitor and forecast oceans and tides enhances our ability to make more informed decisions as well as provide more accurate advisories and warnings to the vulnerable coastal communities of RMI.”
The week-long training will be facilitated by ocean science experts and trainers from SPC, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Participants will receive practical training on sector-specific applications of ocean information and online tools, including tide calendars, tide gauge data, and the COSPPac Ocean Portal.
The COSPPac Ocean Portal provides updated information on sea surface temperature, wave forecasts, surface current forecasts, coral bleaching alerts, and seasonal sea level variations, in addition to hosting near-real time tide gauge data from 14 sites across the region.
“Through this workshop, not only do we provide technical training on ocean and tides, but we also use it as an opportunity to encourage in-country ocean stakeholders and neighbouring meteorological offices to connect, share experiences, and form collaborative partnerships,” SPC’s Manager of Oceans and Coastal Geoscience, Jens Kruger said.
“Our hope is that these connections will continue in countries long after we leave and help local partners to build community resilience to extreme ocean and tidal events,” Mr Kruger said.
This workshop will also be attended by stakeholders and partners of the Marshall Islands Weather Service such as the office of the Chief Secretary, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, the Shipping and Port Authority, government representatives from Majuro and Kwajalein, the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Agency and local universities.
Topics covered in this workshop include tides, shipping and maritime safety, fisheries and marine resources, the Pacific Sea Level Monitoring Project, and waves and coastal hazards to name a few.
COSPPac is managed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with SPC, Geoscience Australia, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and USP, and is a key component of the Australian Government’s support to Pacific Island countries in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate variability and change. [/restrict]