CAPTION: ?Students go through the information booths at the Nadi?Weather?Office during the World MET Day Celebrations in Nadi. Photos: MARGARET NAQIRI.
By MARGARET NAQIRI
Watching and predicting the weather and climate have evolved into a highly sophisticated scientific activity dedicated, in particular, to protecting life and property says Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Captain Timoci Natuva.
Speaking at the 2013 Meteorological Day Celebrations in Namaka, Nadi earlier today Mr Natuva said continuously improving scientific weather forecasting and warning is essential, as proven in the past, to have saved many lives and contributed enormously to sustainable development.
?Everyone is weather and climate dependent, from the farmer and urban planner to the emergency responder, water manager or weekend picnic organizer to government officials all rely on modern weather and climate services,? Mr Natuva added.
?The theme of the celebration this year is, ?Watching the Weather to Protect Life and Property? with the subtitle ?Celebrating 50 Years of the World Weather Watch?. Thus, it also pays tribute to the World Weather Watch, a foundation programme of the WMO that also marks its fiftieth anniversary in 2013.
?Today, Fiji?s communities are coming to terms with the challenges of climate change. Climate change, in fact will re-shape the risks that the weather and climate pose to life and property. Climate studies reveal that average temperatures and precipitation are already changing all over the globe.
?The World Meteorological Celebrations today marks a significant milestone in weather watch services globally. We in Fiji have an important role to, to play in ensuring that we contribute positively in mitigating towards the theme for this year?s celebration ? Watching the weather to protect life and property.?
Sharing similar sentiments with the minister, director of meteorology Alipate Waqaicelua said World Weather Watch is not just about watching the weather.
?It?s watching the weather, taking observations, analyzing that observation, archiving that observation and creating forecast or policies from those observations and then sending it to the people who will make decisions as well as the general public for their well being to protect lives and properties,? Mr Waqaicelua offered.
?Every year children come to witness the celebration as this is an integral part of the celebration because they are our future and we have to have children here.
?It is very important that they grasp the importance of weather. We receive hundreds of requests or invitations from them from all over Fiji from kindergarten, Sunday schools and tertiary schools to come and visit every year,? Waqaicelua concluded.
Students from surrounding schools in Nadi and as far as Sigatoka witnessed the celebrations as well.
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