Introduction

Agricultural meteorology is an applied science that brings together the effects of the climate and weather on the production of crops, livestock and forests. Our lives are closely affected by daily and annual variability in climate. The agricultural community is no exception. Farmers are affected by the extremes in climate and its variability that often lead to wide interannual fluctuations in yields and productivity. In many parts of the world climatic variability is large, creating potentially severe problems for farm managers to solve. If the agricultural meteorologists are to help the farmer, they need to remain up-to-date on advancing knowledge of forecasting, climatic change, and the tools being developed to address these issues. But, most importantly, they must find ways to adapt local farming systems in a practical manner to predicted near-term forecastable events and to long-term climatic change.

For this to happen agricultural meteorologists must receive in-service training and be able to attend short courses to sharpen their skills and learn new techniques. A common basis for success is competence in numeracy, communication and general computer skills and these skills should be strengthened where necessary. However, agricultural meteorologists also need many specific scientific skills in highly specialised areas of meteorology, climate analysis, and the agricultural sciences and these too must be provided.

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