Sat | Jul 21, 2018

School Receives Weather Station to boost Climate Change Fight

Published:Thursday | March 24, 2016 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Greater Portmore Primary School head girl and boy Shamoy Dixon (second left) and Delano Ramsay (third right) listen keenly as Delroy Tomlinson (left), meteorological technician at Meteorological Service of Jamaica explains the components of the weather station. Maxine Thomas, principal of the school; Jacqueline Spence, acting director, Meteorlogical Service of Jamaica and Evan Thompson, head of Weather Branch, look on at the handover ceremony for an automatic weather station at the Greater Portmore Primary School yesterday.
The Greater Portmore Dance Group pose for our camera at the handover ceremony for an automatic weather station at the Greater Portmore Primary School, St Catherine, yesterday.
The Greater Portmore Dance Group performs a dance item at the handover ceremony for an automatic weather station at the Greater Portmore Primary School, St Catherine, yesterday.
Members of the Greater Portmore Dance Group in performance at the handover ceremony.

Their depth of knowledge about the environment coupled with the willingness to take mitigation action to combat climate change resulted in the Greater Portmore Primary School in St Catherine emerging on top during a weather and climate change quiz competition held last year.

The competition, hosted by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, saw the school emerging with an automatic weather station, which was handed over yesterday on the school grounds.

An automatic weather station is an automated version of the traditional weather station with instruments and equipment for measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and the climate.

Thirteen primary and preparatory schools participated in the competition aimed at getting youth involved and being better able to aid in adaptation efforts.

Adrian Shaw, meteorologist at the Met Office, explained that children, along with members of staff and the wider community, would be able to analyse areas such as maximum temperature, the amount of rainfall for the day, solar radiation, and wind speed.

"Greater Portmore came out with all of 58 points. They were quite knowledgeable and disciplined. Their accomplishment is quite commendable because they got a short period to study because the notice was sent out only a month before the competition. They were ready and made a good impression," Shaw told The Gleaner

"We made sure the competition provided an avenue by which they were able to delve into how climate change and weather would affect issues such as health, agriculture, and tourism, topics we believe are very important," he continued.

Shaw added: "The expectation is that from the knowledge gained, students will be empowered to take action. They have the tool because with this station, they will be able to assess what is happening in their community. We want to get students involved in the fight and raise the awareness of their environment."

Effects of

climate change

Principal of the school, Maxine Thomas, said she continued to have personal experience of the effects of climate change, and as such, it was imperative that her students got involved.

"Last year was one of the worst I have ever seen. The time was so hot, and even when you thought it would be alleviated, it continued, and all of this is linked back to climate change," she said.

"Things we used to take for granted are coming to haunt us, and this means we have to be vigilant. Climate change in recent years has become a real and challenging issue for people around the globe. Weather patterns are changing and sea-level rise is right in our backyard (Hellshire beach),"

"I have not only seen it at Hellshire but many of our beaches are eroding. We are also seeing flooding, among other effects. We are the recipients of an automatic weather station, and this is just one avenue in which we can be part of the fight. We are grateful."