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Belize to benefit from World Meteorological Organization’s SOFF initiative

Posted: Saturday, July 15, 2023. 8:15 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Belize, under the National Meteorological Service (NMS), a part of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, is set to be one of the inaugural beneficiaries of the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF). The program, initiated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), aims to strengthen climate adaptation and resilient development through enhanced measurement of weather and climate variables.

The SOFF initiative seeks to bolster weather forecasts, build reliable early warning systems, and provide robust climate information services with the ultimate goal of protecting lives, livelihoods, and property. The initiative’s strategy involves the continual collection and sharing of surface-based weather and climate measurements in line with the Global Basic Observing Network’s international standards. The data collected is expected to refine weather and climate prediction products.

The NMS of Belize, supported by the UK MET Office as a peer advisor, is currently in the SOFF Readiness Phase. The team is developing a funding proposal to be submitted to the SOFF Secretariat, which will be considered for the subsequent SOFF Investment Phase.

A delegation from the UK MET Office is presently in Belize, liaising with the NMS and key stakeholders. The team aims to understand how to further enhance these services and products via the SOFF initiative and assess the overall value of the NMS’s contribution to the socio-economic development of Belize.

The SOFF program is expected to greatly benefit Belize. It ensures the establishment of at least one weather station in the country that records and transmits weather conditions at the surface and upper levels of the atmosphere. This data will be used in global weather and climate prediction models, which in turn are used by all weather and climate forecasting offices worldwide, including the NMS.

Beyond just data collection, the initiative may also foster the human resource and institutional capacity of the NMS to manage its network of weather stations and deliver impact-based weather forecasting and early warnings to the public. This support is particularly crucial as Belize endeavours to achieve the United Nations’ ‘Early Warning for All’ goal by, or before, the target year 2027.

With the aid of the SOFF initiative, Belize can look forward to a future with improved weather forecasts and climate services, essential tools for protecting its citizens and economy in an era of growing climate unpredictability.


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