Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meteorology in the Azorean Archipelago

Within the ongoing low season training program of Futurismo, on the 6th the and 7th of December 2018 we learnt about climatic variations and meteorology in the Azorean Archipelago, thanks to the Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA).

In the first day Fernanda Silva Carvalho taught us about climate variations. She showed us the reference situation of our climate, which is calculated over 30 years, and compared that to the current one, which is totally influenced by anthropogenic activity. She showed us that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) measured along the years here in the Azores, has been rising progressively. This trend is global and contributes to the global warming rising temperatures, which at local scale will decrease the rain in several places. With the existing anthropogenic pressure, this increase in temperatures will hardly return to their anterior balanced values. Also, we understood that air temperature is not directly dependent on the intensity of the sun rays but instead, on earth’s radiation. Thus, even though the temperatures are not so high outside make sure you protect your skin from the strong UV sun rays, unnoticeable for our body temperature sensors.

In the second day Diamantino Henriques helped us to understand local weather forecast maps. We learnt about the strong influence that the Azores High Pressure has on our local weather (and its sudden changes!) and as well in the entire North Atlantic; as well as the influence of the different types of fronts on the weather charts. He taught us how these forecast maps are created, and explained the different kind of models and limitations that exist to analyse the climatic variables. In the IPMA here in Ponta Delgada, high resolution weather forecast models are run for the Azores. They use parameters such as rain, temperature, wind or atmospheric pressure among others to create regional reliable 48h forecasts. Furthermore, they are the responsible to create the navigation warnings and alerts, considering meteorological and sea conditions. That’s something we really appreciate, because going out to the sea is our daily routine!

Finally, we still got to see the Forecast Station, where they make the predictions for the entire archipelago, beside the University and the Observatório Afonso Chaves.

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