Mines and Geology Division Developing Tool to Predict Storm Surges

“It was built in 2017 and since then, there have been no major storms that impacted the island to really test it, and we will have to calibrate further in order to get it to the level of accuracy that would be required to use it for any major surge forecasting,” Mr. Ricketts said. Director of the Research and Mapping Unit at the Division, Canute Ricketts, made the disclosure in an interview with JIS News during the second International Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters on July 24. The tool is currently at a specially selected site in Caribbean Terrace, St. Andrew, which has been severely affected by hurricanes. The Mines and Geology Division in the Ministry of Transport and Mining is far advanced in developing a tool to forecast storm surges in Jamaica. Story Highlights The Mines and Geology Division in the Ministry of Transport and Mining is far advanced in developing a tool to forecast storm surges in Jamaica.Director of the Research and Mapping Unit at the Division, Canute Ricketts, made the disclosure in an interview with JIS News during the second International Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters on July 24. The tool is currently at a specially selected site in Caribbean Terrace, St. Andrew, which has been severely affected by hurricanes.“It was built in 2017 and since then, there have been no major storms that impacted the island to really test it, and we will have to calibrate further in order to get it to the level of accuracy that would be required to use it for any major surge forecasting,” Mr. Ricketts said.He told JIS News that the research came out of the need to accurately predict storm surges, given the devastating impact of such events on low-lying areas.He noted that most of Jamaica’s coastline is prone to storm surge occurrences, highlighting Portland Cottage and Manchioneal as being among the areas of concern.“Jamaica is a small island state where the entire island is deemed a coastal area. It is one that is highly prone to storm surge occurrences, and we have a long history of storm surges dating back 300 years. “When the first major storm surge occurred in a coastal community known as Queensland (now Passage Fort in Portmore), a 4.8-metre surge pretty much destroyed all of that development,” he noted.Mr. Ricketts said there was another storm surge in Savanna-la-Mar in 1912 that went almost 800 metres landward.“We are seeing the same thing now with Caribbean Terrace and some other areas, so we have recognised that there is a need for storm surge forecasting. Once we are able to forecast and determine what areas are more prone to storm surges, we’d then be able to plan the coastal environment better,” he pointed out.He said that the Mines and Geology Division has a role to play in the development approval process for the built environment, and the storm surge information would assist in designating areas that are prone to wave heights of a certain elevation as ‘no-build zones’. “We could also assess what type of development we are putting in a certain areas based on susceptibility to storm surge occurrences,” he added.Mr. Ricketts said that the tool that is being developed can also drive policy for the coastal environment. “It is important for coastal design and could determine what mitigation measures can be put in place for coastal areas so you could drive planning, design and policymaking,” he said. read more

TAP Participants to Benefit From WellStructured Training

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the USF, Daniel Dawes, speaking at the TAP orientation programme at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on August 22, indicated that for the first three months, training will be provided at the USF’s Community Access Points (CAPs) in each parish in Data Management/Digitisation. Participants in the 2019 batch of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) will benefit from training given by the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the HEART Trust/NTA.Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the USF, Daniel Dawes, speaking at the TAP orientation programme at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on August 22, indicated that for the first three months, training will be provided at the USF’s Community Access Points (CAPs) in each parish in Data Management/Digitisation.He also pointed out that training will also be conducted at the CMU in 3D printing.Once the CMU component is completed, Mr. Dawes said that the HEART Trust/ NTA will come on board to train the participants in the area of Computer Administration as well as in Basic Computer Repairs.Following this training, each of the participants will be evaluated, then placed in an organisation to work for six months.Mr. Dawes told the 600 participants, who will be paid a stipend of approximately $10,000 per week, that “it is incumbent on you to ensure that the training works,” and emphasised the importance of proper grooming while participating in the programme.The TAP is being administered by the USF, an agency within the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology (MSET), and is geared at assisting Jamaican youth between 18 and 35 years to acquire employment skills, provide them with short-term employment and, ultimately, making participants ready for longer-term employment.Participants in the programme will be tracked for five years following their one- year training and work experience, to ensure that they continue to be meaningful contributors to the Jamaican society. Story Highlights He also pointed out that training will also be conducted at the CMU in 3D printing. Participants in the 2019 batch of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Technology Advancement Programme (TAP) will benefit from training given by the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and the HEART Trust/NTA. read more