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Regional ocean science training encourages Tonga

Friday, November 24, 2017

Update: 6:11PM AN ocean science training and stakeholder engagement workshop held in Tonga this week has encouraged the Tonga Meteorological Service to develop a monthly Ocean Outlook to provide critical ocean information and forecasts to the public.

Ministry of Meteorology, Information, Disaster Management, Climate Change, Environment, and Communications CEO Leveni Aho said forecasts and early warnings for ocean-based hazards were critical for early action.

"Ocean conditions play a key role in the economy and in the lives of Tongans, from tourism and coastal development to shipping and subsistence fishermen," Mr Aho said in a statement by the Pacific Community (SPC) yesterday.

SPC's coordinator for Ocean Intelligence Molly Powers-Tora said they hoped to develop applications and forecasts to address location-specific ocean monitoring issues around the region.

"The portal has been designed in consultation with Pacific users over the last few years," Mrs Powers-Tora said.

Tonga Meteorological director Ofa Fa'anunu said Tonga Meteorological Service recently kicked off an initiative to collect traditional climate and ocean-based knowledge from the older generations before the knowledge was lost.

"Where we can, Tonga Met can use some of these indicators to better engage with communities around seasonal forecasts and also to teach young people some of the valuable traditional knowledge of our elders," he said.

The workshop was delivered through the Australian-funded 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).

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