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Tonga Meteorological Service and stakeholders meet to discuss ways to strengthen ocean services

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13 November, 2017 Tonga Meteorological Service staff gather with key national ocean and maritime stakeholders this week for a workshop on ocean forecasting for improved safety and resilience.

With support from the Australian Government and the Pacific Community (SPC), Tonga Met Service will host the National Oceans and Tides Workshop from 13-17 November, with the aim to strengthen understanding and application of ocean data for improved preparedness and planning.

“The Marine Sector is a very important sector for our economy and our livelihoods. Ocean conditions play a key role in the economy and in the lives of Tongans, from tourism and coastal development to shipping and subsistence fishing,” said CEO of the Ministry of Meteorology, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change, Environment, and Communications, Mr Leveni Aho at the opening of the workshop. “Forecasts and early warnings for ocean-based hazards are critical for early action.”

Workshop participants will receive practical training from regional oceanographic experts from SPC and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on interpreting and applying ocean information from tide calendars and online tools.

Australian Deputy Head of Mission Ms. Rhonda McPhee addressed the participants at the opening this morning, noting that, “Australia is proud to support Tonga to reach its goals by building tools, networks and inroads to improve monitoring and forecasting of oceans and tides.”

Ocean stakeholders from fisheries, disaster management, ports and marine, environment, education, search and rescue, private sector companies and others will participate in the first three days of the workshop. The second half of the week will focus on wave modelling and development of improved ocean forecast products with Tonga Met.

Director of Tonga Meteorological Service, Mr ‘Ofa Fa’anunu said that this workshop is quite timely as it will provide an opportunity for important national discussion, prioritisation, and coordination of ocean-related forecasts, alerts, and information delivery.

“Given the impacts of climate change and variability on Tonga, it is very important to improve our ability to monitor and forecast ocean conditions,” Mr Fa’anunu said.  “Tonga Met Service has been steadily building our capacity to provide services through the COSPPAC project specifically for marine stakeholders and communities. This workshop will help us understand national client and stakeholder needs, and hopefully provide us with some methods to meet those needs.”

This workshop is being delivered through the Climate and Oceans Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac) which is managed by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in partnership with SPC, Geoscience Australia, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

According to Ms McPhee, the COSPPac project is coming to an end in 2018, but Australia is committed to continuing its support of essential ocean monitoring infrastructure, services, and capacity building.

ENDS

For further information: Meteorology Division on 35355 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More information is also available at www.met.gov.to

 

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