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Meteorologists get lessons in climate modelling

Meteorological officials from Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia met in Vientiane on Tuesday to discuss and learn about advanced climate modelling. 
The International Advanced Climate Modelling Training, organised by the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, is being attended by the department’s Director General Mr Khammany Khounphonh, CIAT Country Representative Dr Pablo Imbach, and FAO Representative to Laos, Mr Nasar Hayat.
A ministry official said the training session would bring positive changes to the region’s climate forecasting capacity and contribute to the empowerment of officers in meteorological departments in Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. 
It would advance the skills and abilities of meteorologists to prepare longer term weather and climate forecasts, he said.
 A conglomeration of two projects is developing the capacity of Lao meteorological services. The first of these is a result of the ‘Strengthening Agro-climatic Monitoring and Information Systems’ (SAMIS) project carried by FAO.
The training session, hosted by the Global Environment Facility, to improve adaptation to climate change and food security in Laos for meteorological staff continues until May 9. 
The second regional project that is contributing to Lao weather services is the ‘Applying seasonal climate forecasting and innovative insurance solutions to climate risk management in the agriculture sector in SE Asia” project, otherwise known as De-RISK SE Asia.
This project, implemented by the World Meteorological Organisation along with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), is financed by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
In Laos, De-RISK SE Asia will see staff from the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology and the National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute being trained in advanced methodologies for seasonal forecasts and climate modelling. The trainers will include experts from USQ in Australia.
The SAMIS project is also set to launch an online system and mobile phone app called Laos Climate Services for Agriculture (LaCSA) in the coming weeks.
This weather app will contain weather and crop information for farmers across the country on a near real-time basis. The EPINET Company of the Seoul National University of South Korea developed and modelled the IT component of the LaCSA system.
Described as one of the most innovative systems in Asia, the LaCSA system is expected to enable farmers to have better food security and control over the ways crops are produced.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Department of Agricultural Land Management will start using the online tool over the next rice season in the provinces of Luang Namtha, Savannakhet, Vientiane, Saravan and Champassak.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update May 8, 2019)

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