CIRA’s interaction with Central American and Caribbean countries was undertaken in 1996 in the spirit of the 45th session of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) executive council which recommended that “each satellite operator … cooperate with at least one of the specialized satellite applications training centres (“centres of excellence”) strategically located around the globe with regard to the satellite programme, facilities and expertise required” (Purdom, 1997).
Under this activity, CIRA partnered with NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) and the Regional Meteorological Training Centers of Excellence (RMTCoE) in Costa Rica and Barbados. In 2006, the partnership expanded to include the newly recognized RMTCoE in Argentina and Brazil.
The progression of training activities focused on satellite meteorology has gone from classroom based instruction to virtual instruction and initiation of a focus group. The target group initially included forecasters, but has expanded to include researchers, students, managers and others outside the field of meteorology. Although we heavily use satellite information, we recognize the benefits of utilizing conventional observations, model data, and “whatever works”.