"The Mission of the Meteorological
Service is to take full advantage of man's present knowledge
of weather and climate; to take steps to improve significantly
that knowledge and to foresee and prevent potential man-made
changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being
the study of the atmosphere especially as it relates to the
weather, makes it possible to predict or forecast the weather
to a certain extent.
Jamaica, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, which is a
scientific division of the Ministry of Land and Environment,
handles this very important business of meteorology.
the decade of the 40's in the 20th century, meteorological
matters in Jamaica were coordinated by a "Government
Meteorologist", whose chief tasks were the collection
and publication of data such as rainfall, temperature, wind
direction, wind speed and sea level pressure.
the 40's, a formal meteorological service was developed in
Jamaica as an adjunct of the British Government's Air Ministry.
This was during the 2nd World War and meteorological activities
were expanded to include synoptic weather forecasting, particularly
for aviation and marine interests.
The early 50's saw meteorological activities coming under
a centralized Caribbean Meteorological Service, a colonial
meteorological organization formed in 1951 and later taken
over by the West Indies Federal Government with headquarters
the demise of the West Indies Federation, meteorological activities
in Jamaica were taken over by the Government of Jamaica. The
Government of Jamaica therefore decides the scope, provides
the staff and equipment and meets the cost of the meteorological
facilities established internally to serve its own interests.
gaining Independence in 1962, Jamaica became an individual
member of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized
agency of the United Nations.
Meteorological Division is comprised of three distinct Branches,
all overseen by the Director of Meteorological Services and
managed by separate Branch Heads. These are the Administration
and Support Services Branch, the Weather Branch and the Climate
Administration and Support Services Branch provides
efficient and effective administration in the areas of personnel,
office management, accounting services, a registry and a library.
These all function out of the Meteorological Headquarters,
which is currently situated at 65¾ Half-Way-Tree Road
in Saint Andrew, Jamaica.
Weather Branch is concerned with the observation and
forecasting of weather conditions over and around the island.
It consists of a Radar Section that closely monitors and reports
on rainfall occurrence within a range of nearly 500 kilometres;
an Upper-Air Station (the Caribbean Rawinsonde Network Section)
that monitors the characteristics of the upper atmosphere;
a Synoptic Sub-Station operating within the Sangster International
Airport in Montego Bay that makes observations and meteorological
reports for use in international air navigation; and a National
Meteorological Centre at the Norman Manley International Airport
that provides weather forecasting services for general dissemination.
This Section, in particular, maintains a continuous Hurricane
Watch during the hurricane season and is responsible for the
issuance of severe weather warnings. Data for forecasts are
obtained locally from observation points at the surface, as
well as from the radar station, and internationally through
telecommunication links with regional and international centres
and via stationary and polar orbiting satellites.
technicians working within the Weather Branch's Instruments
and Equipment Section are responsible for maintaining all
meteorological and other related machinery that reside in
the various Sections.
Based at the
Meteorological Headquarters, the Climate Branch
is responsible for maintaining a current database of the climate
of Jamaica and for the utilization of this data in informing
productive sectors of the country. It consists of a Data Acquisition
Section that sets up and maintains an islandwide network of
rainfall and climatological stations; a Data Processing Section
that gathers, archives and analyses the climatological data
with a view to monitoring and assessing the climate of the
island; and an Applied Meteorology Section that processes
the needs of clients, which include crop water requirements,
design criteria for hydrologists and engineers, and climatological
information for resolving weather related legal and insurance