Radio Frequency Coordination Training Workshop and WMO Expert Team Meeting being held in the Caribbean for the first time

14 February 2024

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, 14 February 2024 — The Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) Headquarters Unit, in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Expert Team on Radio Frequency Coordination (ET-RFC), and with the support of the Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU), will be hosting a training workshop on Radio Frequency Matters on 
19 and 23 February 2024, in conjunction with the Fifth (5th) Meeting of the WMO Expert Team on RFC from 20-22 February 2024 at the CTU Headquarters, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

Radio frequency (RF) transmission is ubiquitous in our modern society, including telecommunication, broadcast media, observation of the earth and the atmosphere and data transfer. Radio frequencies are relied on to create weather forecasts, early warnings, climate monitoring and space weather predictions. The operation of satellites, weather radar, radiosondes, hydrological observing 
systems, and drifting buoys are all based on radio or microwave. Yet, these vital, life-preserving operations face escalating challenges from emerging technologies. Therefore, it is imperative to increase the understanding and coordination of radio frequency matters with national, regional, and international regulatory authorities and stakeholders to effectively manage and protect earth observation frequencies that are vital for the safeguarding of lives, livelihoods, property and economies.

The training workshop, the first of its kind, will include at least twenty (20) local experts from leading radio frequency user groups within the public, private, and academic sectors in Trinidad and Tobago participating in-person. Participants from the other fifteen (15) CMO Member States will attend the workshop virtually. Eighteen (18) international experts will attend the ET-RFC meeting, with some serving as trainers for the workshop. Additionally, more than fifty (50) national focal points on radio frequency matters from WMO Members across the world will be engaged virtually. Hosting the training workshop and ET-RFC meeting in the Caribbean brings value to small-island developing states, and will foster further engagement with regional institutions like the CMO and CTU, and national entities involved in spectrum management and telecommunications.

The increasing demands on the spectrum of radio-communication frequencies requires that local experts and decision-makers on RF matters be well-informed and up-to-date on the value of the spectrum bands for different applications associated with operational weather forecasting, climate and environmental monitoring and research in weather, climate, water, and related environmental sciences.

From the Caribbean perspective, a pivotal RF issues concerns the measurement of sea surface temperature, as tropical storms form when the sea-surface temperature reaches or exceeds 26ºC and rapid intensification of storms has been observed over warm currents and eddies. Satellite sensors that measure emissions from the surface are the sole means of monitoring the vast oceanic regions where hurricanes form. Weather forecasts and early warning systems for hurricanes and other severe weather conditions rely extensively on Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP), which requires accurate observations to provide skilful forecasts. Additionally, microwave spectrum bands play a vital role in providing vital information on water vapour, clouds, and precipitation.

The goals of the workshop are to increase the capacity of local and regional experts and to develop new experts in the field of spectrum management in the Caribbean. It will focus on the international regulations governing the allocation of RF spectrum for a range of purposes, including weather prediction, climate monitoring, and earth system science. It will address integrated RF and related issues to ensure there is a comprehensive understanding of the importance of, and the requirements on, radio frequencies 
for meteorological and related environmental activities. It will therefore provide regional decision-makers and regulators with the knowledge required to make more informed decisions about frequency allocations.

Dr Arlene Laing
Coordinating Director
CMO Headquarters Unit

About the CMO
The Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) is a specialized agency of the Caribbean Community that coordinates the joint scientific and technical activities in weather, climate and water – related sciences in sixteen English-speaking Caribbean countries (Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands). The Organs of the CMO are: (i) The Caribbean Meteorological Council (CMC)-Governing Body of the CMO, (ii) The Headquarters Unit (Secretariat), headed by a Coordinating Director, located in Trinidad and Tobago; (iii) The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) located in Barbados; and (iv) The Caribbean Meteorological Foundation (CMF). The CMO originated from the British Caribbean Meteorological Service, founded in 1951.

About the WMO
The World Meteorological Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with 193 Member States and Territories. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.