The website was launched by Basil Hagai, chief executive officer for the Minister of Transport Robert Tapaitau on May 22 at a special event hosted at the Cook Islands Meteorological Service.
Developed through the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Pacific Small Islands Developing States Project of the World Meteorological Organization and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with the Cook Islands Meteorological Service (CIMS), the new website will now be maintained by the Met Service team.
“This is a very proud moment for us to be able to provide this service for our people, not just here but also those that live overseas and across the world,” said Arona Ngari, director of CIMS.
“We look forward to the support that our website can provide to our different sectors and our communities so they can prepare and plan for what may come. This website can only get better.”
The role of science is crucial to informed decision making at all levels, not just for informing policies and briefs. The information the Cook Islands Met Service website shares, will also help decisions being made in the daily lives of communities and people.
The website integrates weather, climate and oceans information from several weather and climate tools used by the Cook Islands Met office. Along with providing you with live forecasts for the Cook Islands, the website also provides you with a rainfall indicator and summary for Rarotonga as well as links to a weather bulletin, ocean portal, weather map and a climate update.
While newly established, work will continue from SPREP to support the Cook Island Met Service in maintaining and updating the website with plans for expansion as well as an attachment and training for staff on how best to manage the website.
“SPREP is honoured to be part of bringing this online service to the people of the Cook Islands. It is our hope that this website will be useful, that it will help enhance the resilience of the Cook Islands,” said Tagaloa Cooper Halo, director of Climate Change Resilience of SPREP.
“As Pacific Islanders we are heavily dependent on our environment and thus our weather and climate is an important part of our daily lives. We look forward to seeing how this website will continue to grow over the years to serve the Cook Islands.”
The website is the second to be completed by SPREP through the CREWS Pacific SIDS project which is implemented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The first website was developed for Tuvalu Meteorology and is expected to be launched in the near future. The next Pacific islands to have websites developed and launched this year include Kiribati, Nauru and Niue.
“The development of a national website marks Cook Islands accession to the rank of countries which regard early warning systems for meteorology and hydrology Services among their most essential priorities,” said Ms Tessa Tafua-So’o of the WMO office for the South-West Pacific.
“The Cook Islands achievement is an important milestone not only for the country but for the region as a whole. This project is just the beginning for new and improved platforms to be developed to assist Government in their efforts of improved resilience and early preparedness to hydro-meteorological hazards.”
The CREWS Pacific SIDS Project focusses on strengthening the Pacific island weather offices of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
It is financed by the CREWS initiative and Environment and Climate Change Department of Canada. The CREWS initiative is funded by the Governments of Australia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It is implemented by WMO with SPREP as the implementing partner.
Special thanks to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research of New Zealand for collaborating with SPREP on generating climate information.
- Nanette Woonton
Communications and Outreach Unit, SPREP