THE MALTA METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE CELEBRATES 100 YEARS OF PROVIDING WEATHER SERVICES TO THE MALTESE ISLANDS
The Malta Meteorological Office on 10th July marked 100 years since the Maltese Islands’ national weather services provider was established.
During the past 100 years, the Meteorological Office has operated from several different locations, with the first move seeing it transfer its operation from Pietà to Saint John’s Cavalier in Valletta, where forecasting was conducted underground during the war. The second move happened in 1946, bringing the weather services provider closer to the island’s Flight Information Centre and air traffic control services at Luqa airport, allowing it to focus on the provision of weather-related services to the then-flourishing civil aviation industry.
The Meteorological Office has been operating from its present location on the Malta International Airport campus since 2002, providing its services to different industries, as well as the general public through the airport website. A continued investment – particularly over the past two decades – in modern equipment, automated weather stations, weather models and a radar system, have allowed the Meteorological Office to widen and improve the array of services it offers.
Some of the milestones in relation to the provision of weather services include the introduction of a three-day forecast to mariners following the delivery of specialised training to the team, and the extension of a once five-day forecast to the present seven-day forecast in 2016. The seven-day forecast nowadays continuously ranks among the three most popular pages on the Malta International Airport website, having been viewed more than four million times in 2021 alone.
“In an age when weather information is available to the public through a variety of digital platforms, our mission is to ensure that the Malta Meteorological Office’s official forecasts and weather warnings are recognised as the go-to source for accurate, dependable weather information that is supported by the latest technology and systems. Our aim is to provide rational rather than sensational information to our followers which enables them to effect well-founded judgment in engaging with their lifestyle or allow for timely preparedness when adverse conditions are forecast. I would like to thank the present Met Office team at Malta International Airport and our technical support specialists for their contribution in providing round-the-clock weather services. It is also a time to remember and acknowledge all the persons who formed part of the Met Office over the years and contributed to the evolution of Malta International Airport’s Met Office as Malta’s national weather services provider,” said Malta International Airport’s Head of Operations and Business Continuity, Ing. Martin Dalmas”.
While weather technology and instrumentation have improved by leaps and bounds, the input of the Meteorological Office team remains crucial in ensuring that forecasts are accurate, weather warnings are issued in a timely manner and researchers’ requests for weather-related data are seen to, as part of the smooth day-to-day running of Malta’s only meteorological office.
The team is composed of forecasters, observers and two administrators, one of whom manages the office’s archival records; a trove of hand-plotted synoptic charts, which formed the basis of weather forecasts prior to the advent of technology, and daily weather observations. The first ever observation, which was recorded on the morning of the 10 July 1922, shows that 100 years ago at 7.00am, the temperature stood at 27.3°C, the visibility was good, and a force 2 wind was blowing from the West Northwest.
Published on: 11.07.22