About the Desk

The National Weather Service (NWS) is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, and possessions. Television weathercasters and private meteorology companies prepare their forecasts using this information. The NWS is the sole US official voice for issuing warnings during life-threatening weather situations. The mission of the International Activities Office (IAO) of the US NWS is to promote the international interests of the US, meteorological and physical community improving the levels of science, technology, operations, and service worldwide.

The Pacific International Training Desk (PITD; Pacific Desk) was established on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in 2001 by the US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Weather Service (NWS) at the Weather Forecast Office (WFO) Honolulu. The Pacific Desk is one of NOAA’s contributions to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Voluntary Cooperation Program (VCP). The Pacific Desk began by offering two-month training internships to visiting students from the Regional Association V (RA V) of the WMO in March 2001 and later expanded the training opportunity briefly to developing countries from WMO FA II nations in east and Southeast Asia, who were also members of the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee.

The vision of the Pacific Desk is to provide one-on-one basic weather forecast training with an emphasis on the tropics. The training program is focused on operational forecasting to enable the student to prepare and disseminate locally-produced meteorological, hydrologic and climate products for their home countries.

The program focuses on participant learning outcomes such as improved ability to predict the onset of severe weather events, forecast daily local weather, and prepare and disseminate locally-produced meteorological, hydrologic, and climate products.


PROGRAM GOALS

In alignment with the mission of the International Activities Office (IAO) of the U.S. NWS, the objective of the Pacific Desk is to train and collaborate with participants annually from across the Pacific Islands region to “promote the international interest of the U.S., meteorological and physical community improving the levels of science, technology operations, and services worldwide.

The program seeks to attract participants with the dedication, intellectual promise and commitment to serve the development needs of their countries. It is intended to be a stepping stone to further develop participants’ knowledge and understanding of key technical and meteorological concepts, processes and networks in order to make meaningful contributions to the region throughout their careers.


PROGRAM STRUCTURE

There are 4 components to the training:

  1. eLearning Prerequisite Course  Intended for forecasters who want to attend the in-person training in Honolulu. The course materials will be distributed via an online course management system or on USB flash drives for local offline viewing. Quizzes and assessments are completed via an online eCourse Management System at learn.pacificdesk.org.  The prerequisite course must be completed prior to full acceptance to attend training on-site.
  2. On-Site Training  A four-week-long in-person training will be held in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, at the National Weather Service Forecast Office (WFO), Honolulu on the University of Hawai‘i Mānoa campus and at the WFO Guam in the Territory of Guam.  The training in Hawai’i is intended for participants from South Pacific Island Countries, while the Guam location will train those from the North Pacific.  The training focuses both on meteorology and communications.
  3. Communication Training  In addition to meteorology training, the on-site program includes a unit on weather related communication systems and content management programs to raise awareness and develop the capacity for utilization of tools that are readily available in the region.
  4. Advanced Workshops  Regional, in-country workshops will be held periodically on a variety of specialized forecast topics including aviation meteorology, tropical cyclones, tsunami and marine forecasting, and severe-weather messaging strategies.

PROVISIONS

The University of Hawai‘i Telecommunications and Social Informatics (UH TASI) Research Program will serve as the program coordinator. There will be a transparent application process.  UH TASI will continue to provide updated and more detailed information.


APPLICATION DATES

Applications must be submitted at least 90 days before the start of each cohort for consideration. Instructions and forms are available on the How to Apply page.


PROGRAM DATES (2017)

Honolulu Training

Level 1 Course
Cohort #1: Mar 6 to Mar 21
Cohort #2: May 1 to May 26
Cohort #3: July 3 to July 28

Level 2 Course
Cohort #4: 28 Aug to 22 Sept
Cohort #5: 9 Oct to 3 Nov

Guam Training

Level 1 Course
Cohort #1: 27 Mar to 21 Apr 
Cohort #2: 8 May to 2 June
Cohort #3: 19 June to 14 July

[Download Training Schedule]


For additional information, please contact:

Ms. H. Gingerlei Porter
Associate Director
Pacific International Training Desk
Telephone: +1 (808) 956-9557
Email: pacificdesk@uhtasi.org