From Education to Research to Operations
NCAR Equipping Panama with Tools and Knowledge
In February, Panama’s Electricity Transmission Company SA (ETESA) and NCAR signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will address weather observation and forecasting, climate change, adaptation and will introduce a comprehensive climate change education program in the Central American country and region. It will address the current sparse data gathering network, will augment the country’s weather forecasting technology and seasonal prediction, and will educate and train the next generation of researchers and decision-makers invested in climate change understanding and adaptation.
According to a World Bank report, Panama ranks 14th among countries most exposed to multiple hazards based on land area. Disasters, such as floods, droughts, and severe storms top the list of these hazards. Heat waves, prolonged dry seasons, and intense rainfalls significantly impact numerous climate-sensitive sectors of Panama’s economy and environment, including hydroelectric power generation, agricultural production, health, Panama Canal operations as well as bio-diversity.
Under this agreement, NCAR will collaborate with ETESA’s Hydrometeorological Management Office, which acts as the country’s climatologic, meteorological and hydrological monitoring service.
"Hydrometeorological (Hidromet) ETESA, is now allied with one of the best centers of research and education," said the Magister Edilberto Esquivel Marconi, Panama's representative to the World Meteorological Organization and director of Hidromet ETESA.
The work, led by Drs. Paul A. Kucera and Caspar Ammann in NCAR’s Research Applications Laboratory, plans to fill in Panama’s research, data and information gaps, by augmenting the number and distribution of meteorological stations, and improving the country’s weather forecast technology and early warning systems. Their work will have a strong education component, ranging from hands-on training to developing a comprehensive and integrated climate change education curriculum in partnership with the University of Panama.
Laura Curtis is a writer for NCAR's Research Applications Laboratory