PRESS RELEASE from Resurgence
The Meteorological Service of Jamaica on the 19th July launched an accurate and easy-to-use weather app for smartphones. It provides hour-by-hour forecasts for all locations on the island for the next five days. The Jamaica Weather app, which is free to download on all types of smartphone, also shows any weather warnings that are in force.
The app was designed and created with support from international partners through the Building Resilience Through Climate Adaptation Technologies (BReTCAT) Project.
Evan Thompson, Director of the Met Service, said: “The new app builds on the Met Service’s forecasts and warnings, communicating them more effectively than has ever been done before. With more than 1.8 million smartphone users in the country, it should allow everyone to get the latest weather information for any location in Jamaica, whenever they want.”
“The app is also very simple to use,” he added. “Just key in the name of any town or village in Jamaica and see it display a detailed forecast for that location. You will receive easy-to-understand information on rainfall, temperature, wind speed and humidity, along with any warnings that may be in force.”
The Jamaica Weather app was developed with technical support from the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The UK-based social enterprise Resurgence, helped the Met Service of Jamaica to co-design the information content with local users of weather forecasts and warnings. The Jamaica-based Caribbean Climate Innovation Center provided administrative and logistical support for the initiative.
Mr Thompson said: “Jamaica is a Caribbean trailblazer. The international partners who helped us to develop this app are keen to see similar initiatives launched in other developing countries, which like Jamaica, use Finland’s SmartMet software to help generate their weather forecasts and warnings.”
The Jamaica Weather app is one of several BReTCAT initiatives aimed at broadening public use and understanding of weather information in Jamaica. BReTCAT has also helped to develop a new marine forecast for fishermen, which was launched in November 2022, and a new more user-friendly Met Service website, which will be launched shortly. Several more innovations are still in the pipeline.
John Harding, Head of Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Secretariat at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “CREWS is keen to continue supporting Jamaica and wants to support replication of the app elsewhere in the region.”
Referring to the launch of CREWS at the 2015 Climate Conference in Paris, Harding added: “The Jamaica weather app was exactly the kind of initiative our founders hoped to see…we would like to see it continue.”
Image below taken from the Jamaica Weather app
Background information about the BReTCAT Project
The Building Resilience Through Climate Adaptation Technologies (BReTCAT) Project aims to improve the ways in which the Meteorological Service of Jamaica communicates weather and climate information to all those who need it, especially those who are most vulnerable to extreme weather impacts.
Its initiatives are based on the principle of co-design, embodied in Resurgence’s DARAJA approach to the design of actionable weather information. This involves bringing together the producers, users and communicators of weather information to jointly design more accurate and useful weather information products that are easy to understand and use and to develop better ways of delivering this weather information to end users.
The current phase of the BReTCAT Project, which runs from 2020 to 2023, is largely funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Caribbean Initiative component led by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
BReTCAT has been implemented with support from Resurgence, CCIC, FMI, the University of the West Indies and a wide range of Jamaican stakeholders who have participated in the co-design process.