Role Of Education And Training In Agricultural Meteorology To Reduce Vulnerability To Climate Variability

SUE WALKER

Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences, University of the Free State, P.O. Box 339, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa E-mail: [email protected]

Abstract. Agricultural meteorologists are concerned with many operational aspects of the effects of climate on crop production, livestock, and natural resource management. For them to continue to make a contribution to the economy of a country they must continually sharpen their skills and remain updated on the latest available information. Training should include a variety of skills, including transferable skills (e.g. communication, numeracy), professional skills (including cognitive skills) and information technology skills. Problem-based learning can be used to promote critical thinking, decision making and analytical skills. More use should be made of computer-aided learning for agricultural meteorologists' in-service training. In particular, the Internet or CDs could be used to disseminate specific recently developed techniques and applications to improve the understanding of the variability in climate and its effect on agricultural production and natural resource management. Examples that can address the vulnerability of farmers include crop-climate matching, the use of indices, crop modelling and risk assessment together with seasonal outlooks. A strategy needs to be formulated to address these needs and implement changes in the education and training of agricultural meteorologists. These training needs must be constantly updated to meet the changing demands of new technology to cope with climate change and climate variability.

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