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January 29, 2016

Improving of Meteorological Observation, Weather Forecasting & Dissemination Project
Started the activity for Possibility of Meteorological Instrument Traceability

JICA commenced ‘Improving of Meteorological Observation, Weather Forecast & Dissemination Project' in September 2014, aiming on build-up reliable observation & forecast technique for extreme weather phenomena (heavy rain, strong wind, thunder, etc.,) and proper dissemination of information on weather in user friendly manner.

The ‘Traceability' is not much familiar in our daily life. It's essential to clearly verify the accuracy of measurement instruments which are used in local weather stations such as thermometer. Such a kind of verification can be obtained through the chain of calibration from International Standards to National Standards and then Local Standards. This process is called ‘Traceability'. Based on this, quantitative weather forecast can be made using lots of accurate observation data which are shared world-wide weather agencies.

Up to now Department of Meteorology, Sri Lanka (DOM) has been used mercury barometer, glass thermometer and dry & wet bulb hygrometer, as their usual calibration tools for a long time. However, the last calibration work of DOM barometer has stopped 30 years ago, based on standards of Indian Meteorological Department. While the World Meteorological Organization (UN Agency) recommends each country to refrain using mercury barometer considering the impact of mercury on human, DOM was unable to upgrade the barometer due to financial limitation. Although DOM is periodically making calibration of thermometer with their Sri Lanka national standards, degradation of machine performance due to aging and errors occurs due to people's eye are raised as some problems by now.

Considering the above current situation of DOM, JICA Project has provided digital barometers, digital thermometer and portable Automated Weather Station (AWS) which operate electrically. They calibrated with the JMA standards which have well-made traceability with International standards. Finally, all the standard instruments related to the pressure, temperature and humidity which are currently used by DOM, will have the traceability with International standards.

As a first stage of this activity, the machinery and materials which has been procured in Japan were arrived in Sri Lanka in July 2015. Immediately after that the counterpart of DOM did unpacking, assembling and testing, in coordination with the Consultant Expert. Due to the new instruments are in a digital system, it is necessary for them to acquire some knowledge on how to handle these. Firstly, an in-house training on how all the instruments are operating and the training on comparing with the existing standards of DOM were conducted. An outdoor training by using portable AWS was followed. The exercise on how to transfer the observed data efficiently to the computer was also practiced. Although the outdoor work has done under the blazing sun in the tropics, the counterpart of DOM eagerly participated. After continuing these trainings, they are now able to handle these new instruments without any inconvenience.

As a second stage of this activity, a training programme in Japan has been scheduled for February, 2016. Four people of DOM will be dispatched to JMA Meteorological Instrument Centre (Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture), which is one of the globally recognized international calibration centers. Through this training, trainees will receive the guidance from Japanese experts and practice the Japanese calibration system. The latest instrument calibration techniques are expected to be brought back to DOM through the training.

Third stage of this activity, DOM staff will start-up new instrument calibration work based on the result of JMA training. Also, as a fourth stage of this activity, it is planned to dispatch experts from JMA after several months to do evaluation and improvement of new instrument calibration operation started by DOM.

Considering the above trainings, the positive attitude of DOM counterpart's toward the trainings were caught by our eyes. They have worked under the blazing sun until the works were finished and were wrestling to analyze data using computers. Through their enthusiastic work, it is greatly expected that they would be able to start-up new instrument calibration operation by themselves.

PhotoIntroduced digital barometer

PhotoTraining on comparison of new and old Barometers

PhotoTraining on operating system of portable Automated Weather Station at Observation site of DOM

PhotoTraining on operating system of portable Automated Weather Station at Observation site of DOM

PhotoTraining on observation data analysis using a computer


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