Head of Caribbean meteorology body retires

-after 50-year career

Dr Arlene Laing (left) and Tyrone Sutherland

The Coordinating Director of the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO), Tyrone Sutherland, retired at the end of November 2018.

This announcement was made yesterday by the CARICOM Secretariat

According to a CARICOM Secretariat press release, the Director completed a 50-year long international career in meteorology that began in his native Saint Lucia back in 1968.  He was one of two meteorologists that spearheaded the development of the Saint Lucia Meteorological Service, which he headed until early 1982, the release added. 

He then spent the next 10 years as a Meteorologist and Severe Storms Specialist with the Meteorological Service of Canada. In 1992, he joined the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), located in Geneva, Switzerland, as a Scientific Officer in its Tropical Cyclone Programme. Sutherland was subsequently appointed as the Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General of that organisation.

After resigning from WMO to take up his post at CMO in 1999, he represented the Caribbean in WMO affairs and was elected by WMO as a member of its Executive Council, a position he retained until his retirement, becoming one of the longest-serving members of that council in the world.  During that period, he served two successive terms as a Vice-President of the WMO being the second Caribbean representative to do so.

Sutherland will be remembered for leading the modernisation of the Caribbean weather radar network that provides radar coverage of the region from Belize to Guyana.  Under his leadership, the CMO has worked very closely with all the countries in North America, Central America and the Caribbean in ensuring that the region is served by a modern warning system for tropical storms, hurricanes and other severe weather.

Dr Arlene Laing, a native of Jamaica, will succeed Sutherland as the new Coordinating Director.  She was selected by the Caribbean Meteorological Council, which is the Ministerial-level Governing body of the CMO, after an intensive international search.

Dr Laing has been a weather forecaster, a research scientist, a university professor, and a trainer in operational weather forecasting.  She has attended the University of the West Indies and the Pennsylvania State University in the United States.  Prior to joining the CMO, she was a scientific analyst at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She also worked at the Weather Prediction Centre of the US National Weather Service and spent several years as a researcher at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

The Caribbean Meteorological Organisation was established in 1973 with headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad and is one of the oldest Caribbean institutions. The CMO is a member organisation of CARICOM and coordinates the joint activities of the Meteorological and Hydrometeorological Services of 16 English-speaking countries in the region.  The CMO’s training arm and its climate, research, and instrument centre is the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), located in Barbados.

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