The opening of the forty-third
session of the Caribbean
Meteorological Council was the
occasion for Minister of Natural
Resources Johnny Briceño to sign
on the dotted line for a European
Union financed project under
which Belize and three other
countries will receive advanced weather radar
systems. According to Chief Meteorologist, Carlos
Fuller, while satellite imagery can give the big picture,
it is radar that provides the crucial details.
Carlos Fuller, Chief Meteorologist
"The satellite is a great tool for looking at weather
from afar, from twenty-three thousand miles out in space.
radar is a close up look at it from something like four
miles away. So the definition you're going to get from a
weather radar is far better than from satellite. With the
capability we'll actually be able to measure the wind
the hurricane. And so with the radar we'll be getting
better coverage than we're now getting from satellite,
fact better than from the old radars that we had."
"On a practical basis, how will the people of Belize and
the rest of the Caribbean benefit in real terms from
having this new capability?"
"Again, technology is a big advantage there. Because it
digital we can take that image, put it on the internet
it with the entire world. We can pass it on to the media
touch of a bottom and so it's going to be available in
everyone, where before we have to talk about it over the
what we were seeing in our office."
But while hi-tech equipment is nice, will the new gear
give Belizeans more accurate warnings about
"Certainly, it enhances our ability to track the movement
hurricanes, and even better the micro scale. The radar
able to give us the country of Belize, streets in Belize
City or in
Orange Walk town, to be able to tell you where a severe
occurring at the time. And so indeed, our ability to
communicate is going to be far better now."
"Ought we as citizens of Belize and the Caribbean be
concerned about rising sea levels or radical changes in
"Certainly, we need to be concerned about it. The reason
that we're seeing such erratic hurricane patterns
We have seen higher tides affecting more and more parts
Belize City, which did not go underwater before. And so
something that we need to take very seriously. Incidences
coral bleaching are increasing, so we're seeing all these
impacts and we need to raise the awareness of the
public. I'm afraid that's an area that we were not doing
properly. We were keeping among the scientific community
not being able to translate it to the man on the street.
with the new project, which will have its headquarters in
we'll be addressing that. We now have a public education
outreach specialist who will take all the work we're done
past ten years and being able to put it into layman's
give it to you the media so you can then share it with
of the Caribbean Community."
Construction on the new building should start next
year with the radar set for installation in 2005.