Current Observation

THE GOVERNMENT of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) handed over the HimawariCast Receiving and Processing System to the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services (SIMS) on July 14, 2016 under the Project “JICA Follow-up Cooperation for Meteorology Training”.(Source: Island sun paper)

Nowadays, to utilise Meteorological Satellite Data is indispensable for every National Meteorological Hydrological Services (NMHS) such as SIMS not only to operate daily weather forecasting but also to issue early warnings for tropical depressions and cyclones.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) launched a new Meteorological Satellite named Himawari 8 and has been in operation since July 2015.

The Himawari 8 has lots of advanced functions among many Meteorological Satellites such as high resolution images and very short observation time interval of 10 minutes.

The HimawariCast System is a Satellite Broadcasting System for receiving Himawari 8 data and other weather related data including Numerical Weather Prediction with free of charge via Communication Satellite.

Once HimawariCast Receiving and Processing System is installed, data is updated automatically every 10 (ten) minutes.

In addition, a software named SATAID developed by JMA was also installed.

The Senior Advisor (Meteorology) of JICA, Mr Kunio Akatsu explained that “SATAID is a powerful tool for forecasters of NMHSs among Himawari series Satellite users. JICA is ready to dispatch specialists from JMA to conduct further training for SIMS on the use of Satellite data and SATAID software”.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Dr Melchior Mataki expressed his sincere gratitude on behalf of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands to JICA for funding this very important equipment.

“Solomon Islands is very prone to tropical cyclones and flooding and in the absence of a weather radar, high resolution satellite images from this system will play a very important role in our early warning system.”

The Director of Meteorology, Mr David Hiriasia, added that “for a country such as the Solomon Islands with lots of isolated and scattered islands, monitoring of meteorological phenomena such as tropical cyclones generated in wider area can be very difficult but with the New HimawariCast Receiving System, such life-saving information will now be available on timely basis” and for that, he also thanked JICA for funding the equipment and allowing the Solomon Islands access data from Himawari 8.


THE REPUBLIC of China (Taiwan) has helped Solomon Islands improve its Meteorological service system

A team of experts from Central Weather Bureau, Taiwan, are currently in the country to install a real-time data transmission, early warning and rapid reporting system as part of the development.

Yesterday, Media team was able to take a closer look at the new transmission device, which was installed at the Meteorology Office.

Speaking to the media, Mr Yu-Ting Kuo – a Researcher of seismology in Solomon Islands said the project will enhance the research ability on tsunami, earthquake and tropical in Solomon Islands.

He told the media that the transmission device will provide valuable reference for developing capacity in early warning systems for weather-related disasters.

Mr Kuo said the device will boost Solomon Islands Met Service to provide effective assessment on weather pattern and also to improve disaster response

“This transmission will give out real-time observation network for tsunami, earthquake and cyclone.

“It will help the Meteorology Division to give out early warning then pass on correct information to the National Disaster Management Office to map out response plan,” he explained.

In a statement to this paper, Director of Meteorology, Mr David Hiba Hiriasia, said the team has installed two equipment.

He explained that the equipment installed includes an Automatic rain gauge to measure rainfall and a P-Alert equipment to measure earthquake waves.

Mr Hiriasia stressed that flooding and tsunamis are the most common and deadly disasters in the Solomon Islands, and having equipment that measure and provide real-time data to the Met Service is very important for early warning systems.

He said Solomon Islands Meteorological Service and other Government agencies will collaborate with Central Weather Bureau of Taiwan to work on a 3-year programme to establish an operational Tsunami, Earthquake and Cyclone Early Warning System (TEC).

Mr Hiriasia said the system should be demonstrated in 2017 in the Solomon Islands during the 4th Meeting of the Pacific Meteorological Council.

MINISTER for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hon Samuel Manetoali is ready to sign a Bilateral Meteorology Cooperation with the Republic of China (Taiwan) Central Weather Bureau.

Hon Manetoali made the announcement from the Moroccan Capital, Marrakech, where he is attending the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) or COP22.

The Minister and his delegation which comprises his Permanent Secretary, Dr Melchior Mataki, Solomon Islands Ambassador to the United Nations, His Excellency Colin Beck and officials from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology today held bilateral discussions with the Taiwanese delegation at the margins of the global climate summit.

The dialogue focussed on the finalisation of Taiwan’s meteorological support to Solomon Islands.

Minister Manetoali welcomed Taiwan’s positive response to strengthening Solomon Islands meteorological services through capacity building, research and development of climate and weather applications, enhanced observations and exchange of data and information.

The two delegations agreed to sign the bilateral Meteorology Memorandum of Understanding in the first quarter of 2017.

Minister Manetoali also took the opportunity to thank Taiwan for its ongoing bilateral support to Solomon Islands and assured the Taiwanese delegation of Solomon Islands continued support in calling for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UNFCCC process


THE National Disaster Management Office has teamed up with the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service, partner agencies, media and community members to improve its messaging during disaster times.

The NDMO is using a two day workshop, held at the Honiara Hotel, to review and revise warning messages that are issued to the public during tropical cyclones, heavy rain and tsunami.

NDMO Director Loti Yates, says the workshop will ensure that the message that are sent out can be clearly understood by all the people in the country including the rural communities.

“At this workshop we have the technical staff from the Met Service and NDMO, we have NGOs and partners, we members of the media and importantly we have community members.

“This is an opportunity to review our messaging and ensure that it is understood by everyone,” said Mr Yates.

The workshop is also seeking recommendations from participants on how to improve disaster awareness in rural areas.

Participating organisations include the Solomon Islands Red Cross, World Vision, ADRA, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, Island Sun Newspaper, Solomon Telekom and other organisations.

The two-day workshop is funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.


EXPERTS on tropical cyclones warnings are meeting in at the Forum Fishery Agency (FFA) Conference Room in Honiara, Solomon Islands to discuss further improvement of coordinating warnings of tropical cyclones among countries in the South Pacific and South-East Indian Oceans.

The meeting which is referred to as the 16th session of the WMO Regional Association V (South-West Pacific) Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South Pacific and South-East Indian Oceans is officially opened yesterday, 29 August 2016 by Hon Minister Samuel Manetoali, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM).

Minister Manetoali, in his opening statement, emphasised that Solomon Islands is very vulnerable to tropical cyclones.

This is largely due to Solomon Islands being located both in the area where tropical cyclones start developing and also an area where tropical cyclones are moving.

Climate change may change rainfall pattern, increase temperature of the air and seas leading to increase intensity of tropical cyclones.

The safety of our region, our people, our communities and their properties against the threats of natural disasters including tropical cyclones are the ultimate goal of national governments.

The Hon Minster also calls on the experts to put on the “hat of servant-hood” and serve the people and create an environment that safety and protection of lives and properties of the people should be the essence of what National Meteorological Services and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres do through the warning services they prepare and disseminate to the communities.

In 2010, the Government of the Solomon Islands established the MECDM to respond to threats from natural disasters including tropical cyclones.

The Ministry has also put in place legislations, national strategies and policies to guide the implementation of its work programme.

These include the Meteorology Act of 1985; the National Disaster Act and National Disaster Risk; and the Environment Act.

One of MECDM essential duties is to ensure that the Solomon Islands Meteorological Service (SIMS) provides warnings of tropical cyclones to the government and the people of the Solomon Islands.

SIMS is assisted by Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre and the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Nadi, Fiji (RSMC-Nadi).

The Government of Solomon Islands continues to build both human resources capacity and infrastructure development for tropical cyclone warnings.

Staff of the SIMS and Solomon Islands National Disaster Management Office have either continuing to pursue first university bachelor degree programmes and pursuing postgraduate studies.

To support the tropical cyclone warning, the MECDM is continuing to strengthen the observing networks including automatic weather stations to collect data weather, climate and rainfall data around the country and in the provinces in particular at Tingoa, Rennel and Bellona Provinces.

On the infrastructure improvement, the MECDM is in the initial stage to establish an “Environment Building” to centralise all operations and cater for staff of the Ministry; and the establishment of another new building to cater for a “Joint National Emergency Operation Centre” to house the National Disaster Management Office and the Weather Forecasting Services.

The meeting will continue its discussion on tropical cyclone warnings for the rest of the week.

The meeting is supported by WMO, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Government of the Solomon Islands through the MECDM.

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