Rainfall prediction made easier

Predicting weather systems and monitoring cloud formation will be a little easier once six German scientists on a specially equipped research aircraft are finished with the research they are conducting on the southeast coast of Barbados.

The meteorology plane has nine scheduled flights and the scientists are observing clouds for about seven to eight hours each day. The objective is to improve climate models.

One of the two principal investigators on the flights which are part of the NARVAL (Next-generation Aircraft Remote-Sensing for Validation Studies) project, Björn Stevens told Barbados TODAY that the data collected will give a much better understanding of “whether or not the prediction of Caribbean drying has any basis”. [Caribbean drying] is “when the climate of the Caribbean would be a lot drier . . . which leads to El Niño-like conditions”, he explained.

The NARVAL (Next-generation Aircraft Remote-Sensing for Validation Studies) aircraft.
The NARVAL (Next-generation Aircraft Remote-Sensing for Validation Studies) aircraft.
Scientists on board: Jobias Kollin, Benedikr Urbanek, Björn Stevens, Marcus Ulingebid, Felix Ament.
Scientists on board: Jobias Kollin, Benedikr Urbanek, Björn Stevens, Marcus Ulingebid, Felix Ament.
One of the scientists checks the data.
One of the scientists checks the data.
Scientific campaign coordinator Lutz Hirsch.
Scientific campaign coordinator Lutz Hirsch.

Stevens said that coming out of the research campaign, which runs until August 30, he anticipates there will be “better predictions for future rainfall.”

He thanked local officials for their investment, saying the project would not be possible if wasn’t for the active participation and involvement of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Barbados Museum.

CIMH technical officer, Marvin Forde told Barbados TODAY that the collaboration is very valuable.

“The physics of our clouds are not well documented and campaigns like these will iron out those irregularities,” he said.

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