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SFOR Meteo Co-operation

By Capt. Jesus Campuzano
First published in
SFOR Informer #74


Sarajevo - The Federal Meteorological Institute of Bosnia and Hercegovina was established in 1998 to build a meteorological infrastructure for Bosnia and Hercegovina. "In October 1999, the Meteo Branch of the SFOR Headquarters established contact with the Institute to obtain a better insight and provide assistance where needed," said US Maj. Stephen Romolo, Chief of the SFOR J3 Meteo Branch.

"One of the problems was the lack of direct access to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO is a United Nations (UN) International Organisation, that provides observations, forecasts, and weather products. Other problems were the lack of observing equipment for many sites and certified weather personnel. Since the Institute has limited resources, the SFOR Meteo Branch in co-ordination with SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe) and USAFE (US Air Force Europe) Weather has provided some meteorological equipment and training," explained Maj. Romolo.

"During the war, the main part of the former observation network was destroyed. Only this building remains. We have been using the Slovenian and Croatian systems, but it would be less problematic if we have our national meteorological observation network. But, we have problems to get funds because Meteorology is not a priority," said Mr. Muhamed Muminovic, Deputy Director of the Federal Meteorological Institute.

On request from the SFOR J3 Meteo Branch, Technical Sgt Kirk Halsey and Senior Airman Stephen Bauch from the USAFE Weather Systems Support Cadre (WSSC) installed and set up a NATO Automated Meteorological Information System (NAMIS) satellite terminal in the central office of the Institute in Sarajevo on November 5. "This system gives them the capability to receive and transmit data from the WMO. With this system they now have access to weather products, charts, data in which they did not have before. In turn, SFOR and the WMO will benefit by receiving more Bosnian weather observations and have access to their climatological data," said Maj. Romolo.

"In the next days, personnel from the Institute, the WSSC and us, the Meteo Branch, will conduct a site survey of the Sarajevo Airport and Mount Bjelasnica Observatory to determine the state of the existing infrastructures and the future equipment needs of the Meteorological Institute," explained Dutch Capt. Ruud Kruis, from the HQ SFOR Meteo Branch.

"This is a NATO military system, therefore, it is not adequate for them as a final system only as an interim solution until a civilian system can be provided, it will help them to start working with the rest of the world. It is just another step on the way towards the normalisation of the life in Bosnia and Hercegovina," added Maj. Romolo.

"Through the connection we will have with the equipment provided by SFOR we get more data and also we can send our data to the WMO. We are very grateful for their assistance", added Mr. Muhamed Muminovic.

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