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WAS*IS Caribbean
June 6-11, 2010
San Juan, Puerto Rico


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Caribbean WAS*IS Organizers' Biographies

Tom Behler

I recently have relocated to the Boulder, Colorado, area, where I have taken a Visiting Scientist Position with the NCAR/SIP program. I have come to NCAR/SIP from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI, where I was a tenured Full Professor of Sociology. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1975, my Masters Degree from Rutgers University in 1980, and my Ph D in Sociology from the University of Delaware in 1987.

As a sociologist, I have always been interested in how communities respond to emergencies, and what affects those responses. For example, my Doctoral Dissertation focused on the response of a local community near the Three Mile Island Nuclear plant to the 1979 accident at that facility.

More recently, I was actively involved in emergency preparedness and response-related concerns in both my local community, and at Ferris State University. This involvement was evident in my role as County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Coordinator; my active participation in several Local Emergency Response organizations; and my role as a member of Ferris State University's Emergency Response Team. In addition, I completed a wide array of training courses in emergency communications, emergency response, emergency field operations, exercise design, and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

Within the past three years, I also developed and offered a new course in Ferris State University's Sociology program entitled “The Sociology Of Disasters And Emergency Preparedness”. The course was very successful, and is now a permanent part of Ferris State's Sociology curriculum.

I have come to believe that the Social Sciences are filled with opportunities for integrating the science of weather forecasting, with the more social-scientific goals of research and community outreach. I also have become convinced that a more social-scientific approach to weather and weather forecasting can serve people with disabilities. The disabled undoubtedly have a variety of unique concerns when it comes to preparing for, and responding to, actual or potential severe weather situations. These unique concerns must be more thoroughly understood and addressed, in order to ensure that “special needs” populations are adequately served when necessary.

The afore-mentioned issues and concerns are precisely what makes my new NCAR/SIP position so exciting. I look forward to helping facilitate upcoming WAS*IS workshops, and to taking a lead on additional initiatives to further strengthen the WAS*IS movement.


Jeff Lazo

For the last five years I have been Director of the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research here in Boulder, Colorado. A major effort of the SIP has been the support of the WAS*IS workshops for the last five years. I am an economist with expertise in nonmarket valuation of environmental and natural resource commodities. My current research focuses on the communication and value of weather information and the economic impact of severe weather events. Among other things, I am a member of the World Meteorological Organization Forum on the Socio-Economic Applications of Meteorological and Hydrological Services, the WMO Societal and Economic Research and Applications Working Group, and editor of the new American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Society, and Climate. I received a BA in economics and philosophy from the University of Denver and my Masters and PhD in environmental and natural resource economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder. I am a Colorado native and prior to going back to grad school worked as a ski lift operator and mechanic, construction worker, dishwasher, parking lot attendant, and chimney sweep and volunteered in on the Red, White, and Blue Fire Department in Breckenridge, the Summit County Ambulance, and Summit County Water Rescue Team. For fun – besides work – I mainly play soccer and bike ride.
View my Web page


Emily Laidlaw

I am an associate scientist for the Societal Impacts Program (SIP) within the Research Applications Laboratory (RAL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. My current research involves projects on the value of weather forecasts to U.S. economic sectors and the use of outdoor warning sirens, as well as a project in conjunction with the National Weather Service performance branch examining disaster loss data collection and reporting. I also manage SIP's information resources, including Weather and Society Watch, the Extreme Weather Sourcebook, the Societal Aspects of Weather page, and the SIP and WAS*IS Web pages, among other resources.

I have a master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing/editing from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Rochester. As you might guess from my degree combination, I believe there is a strong need for science-trained communicators who can bridge the gap between atmospheric and social science research and the policy makers, media members, and general citizens that research was intended to serve.

My past science communications work includes positions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the University of Colorado Environmental Center. My professional writing, editing and design experience includes positions with the University of Rochester Office of Communications, the Denver Business Journal, SKI Magazine, the Fort Morgan Times, and the Hampton Group, as well as several freelance Web design and writing projects.
View my Web page


Caribbean WAS*IS Advisory Committee Biographies


Jeff Cupo

Jeffrey Cupo received his B.S. in Meteorology from Rutgers University in 1995.  Immediately following graduation, Mr. Cupo attended Florida State University where he worked closely with the NASA Langley Research Center to calculate air parcel trajectories over the North and Central Pacific.  This work culminated in determining air source regions over a relatively data-sparse ocean.  He completed his M.S. in Meteorology in 1998.

After graduate school, Mr. Cupo was hired by PRC, Inc. to train Weather Forecast Office (WFO) forecasters on the use of the newly-disseminated Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) platforms as part of the National Weather Service (NWS) modernization effort.  Later that year, Mr. Cupo was hired by the NWS Meteorological Development Lab (MDL) as a Techniques Development Meteorologist (TDM) where he helped further refine, develop, and implement the Local AWIPS MOS Program (LAMP) incorporated within the AWIPS platform at each WFO.

In 2000, Mr. Cupo repositioned himself as a TDM at the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) where he developed and refined new software to improve SPC forecasts.  Most notably, he developed a web-based text-generation system that improved the way the SPC disseminates its forecasts, including its flagship severe thunderstorm and tornado watch products.

Toward the end of 2003, Mr. Cupo was selected for a Science and Operations Officer (SOO) position for the Midland, TX WFO where he took his considerable knowledge working in national centers and applied it to the local office setting.  In 2007, after working for three and a half years in Midland, he was promoted to SOO at the San Juan, Puerto Rico WFO, which allowed him to expand his weather knowledge and language skills in a tropical, Spanish-speaking setting. 

In December 2009, Mr. Cupo accepted the position of Meteorologist in Charge (MIC) of the NWS FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, OK where he presently works and resides.


Rafael Mojica

Rafael has been the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service forecast office in San juan since 1994. He leads the meteorological program area for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and conducts area-wide evaluations of the National Weather Service products and preparedness programs. He also conducts area-wide preparedness programs, preparedness planning, and citizen education effort with and through various local and state agencies and organizations.  Rafael is currently serving as acting Meteorogist in Charge in absence of director.


Walter Diaz

I have been teaching at the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez since 1991.  I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Political Science in 1987 from this same institution while obtaining my both my Master's (1991) and Ph.D (1998). degrees in Political Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

My main areas of interest in Political Science have been political participation, interest groups and research methods.  However, since 1999 I have been involved to ever an ever increasing extent in disaster related research.  During this period I have led or have been part of research efforts related to storm surge, tsunami and 100 year flooding events in Puerto Rico, both in terms of exposure and vulnerability and have recently begun to work on projects relating to climate change.  Also, I have been part of the Center for Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere Engineering Research Center at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst since 2003.  My work has been directly or indirectly supported by the National Science Foundation, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources, the Puerto Rico Sea Grant Program, FEMA, NOAA and the Puerto Rico Seismic Network.  More recently I have also begun to collaborate with a research group doing work on improving access to higher education opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth in Puerto Rico.

My work in applied interdisciplinary projects has helped me to contribute to community outreach and mitigation/preparation efforts though membership in the USACE/FEMA Islands Hurricane Task Force (2000-2003), and currently by collaborating with both NOAA's National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program Efforts and the Puerto Rico Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Committee.  Through this work I have come to see that though natural scientists and engineers working in these areas are highly committed to both their research and to reducing vulnerability and increasing resilience to disasters, social scientists can greatly contribute much to improve these efforts.


Fernando Gilbes

Fernando Gilbes Santaella is Associate Professor and the Director of the Geology Department in University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.  He is also the Director of the Center for Hemispherical Cooperation in Research and Education in Engineering and Applied Science (CoHemis).  In 2002, he founded the Geological and Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (GERS Lab) with the mission of promoting and facilitating the education and research of remote sensing tools applied to the Earth System Science.  As biological oceanographer he has several publications on environmental remote sensing, bio-optical properties, and coastal studies.  He has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Marine Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida.  Current research involves multidisciplinary projects on remote sensing, biogeo-optical studies and geographic information systems sponsored by several local and federal agencies. More information at: and


Caribbean WAS*ISers' Biographies

Pablo Alvarez

I am industrial engineer with an MBA. I worked for the electricity company in Guatemala for 4 years. Then I studied my MBA at Chile. Then worked in a retail Business in Guatemala for 3 years. Since 2007 I run my own company of Business Consulting.

As research I worked in a Generation of Electricity by the use of the recycle garbage with the gases of the city garbage dump.

Since 2008 I involved in a volunteer work with an NGO named Camino Seguro Safe Passage, This NGO provides education to the kids to can change their life with an opportunity. There I had worked with the kids in the art program and English teaching.    

My motivation for assist to the WAS*IS is to learn about the topic and then can communicate to the young people of Guatemala, especially those that lives in risky places, especially in the case of an earthquake.


Farzaana Baksh

Ms. Farzaana Baksh is a young and dynamic student of the University of Trinidad and Tobago . She is currently in the final stage of reading for her Masters in Science degree in Environmental Science and Management. Her research area is Wetland Conservation and Management and she has chosen to base her Master's Programme Project on the current conservation efforts being implemented at the Caroni Swamp . She is currently spear-heading the formation of an Environmental Club at this University. Ms. Baksh completed her Bachelor in Science degree at the University of the West Indies , St. Augustine Campus in June 2007. She was a student of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture, and completed a major in Zoology and a minor in Environmental and Natural Resources Management with Second Class Honours. Upon completing her degree at UWI, she has jumped onboard with a new and vibrant organization, the ‘Cetacean Conservation and Research Organization' (CCARO). She is registered as a volunteer to this non-profit organization whose major role is to promote conservation and research of cetaceans within the Caribbean .

In 2005, Ms. Baksh was a part of a team who came together to form a community-based, non-governmental, volunteer club. Now known as the Rotaract Club of Chaguanas, this club was chartered on November 26 th 2005 with thirty-one members. Ms. Baksh was the elected charter Vice-President, who then served another year as Vice-President. As a Rotaractor, Ms. Baksh has attended and successfully completed a training seminar in Event Management in November 2006. In May 2007, she has attended the Rotaract Executive Training Seminar and assisted in the successful completion of a major community-based project in St. Lucia . In October 2008, Ms. Baksh was selected by the Rotary Club of Chaguanas as one of three candidates to partake in a four-day conference known as Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). During her tenure as a Rotaractor, Ms. Baksh has received many certificates and awards, including for more attendance, best performance, and most dependable member.

Ms. Baksh commits herself to study in the area of Environmental Science and Management and to continue to work with Caribbean communities as they learn more about the vulnerability of their surrounding environment. She understands the major role that this workshop can play in providing her with the necessary literature, exposure and experience which would enable her to continue to work to strengthen bridges and bride gaps between scientists and these communities.


Hayden Billingy

I receive a BSc. in Forestry Engineering at the University of Pinar del Rio, Cuba in 2005. Thereafter, I work for the Integrated Forest Management and Development Programme and Forestry Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as a Technical Officer and Forest Officer III respectively between 2005-2006. Most notable, I developed software (Invenfor 1.0) to improve forestry inventory and management, contributing to the conservation of high endemicity ecosystems in St. Vincent.

After graduating with a MSc. in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, with emphasis on Applied Meteorology, I was hired as the Superintendent of Rivers, Beaches and Recreation Sites with the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I am currently responsible for overseeing management of visitor services which includes coordination of safety and security services for all visitors to fourteen (14) recreation parks. Additionally, my work includes the coordination of projects between nine (9) Local Community Organizations and other agency stakeholders to ensure that management plans for the parks and the surrounding watersheds are implemented according to agreed work plans and prescribed standards.

Many of these recreation parks occur along natural water courses, namely rivers and beaches which by virtue of their location are vulnerable to natural weather related hazards such as hurricanes, floods and storm surges among others. In keeping with the international best practices for protected areas' management, comprehensive management plans were developed for these parks that enunciate emergency procedures to be observed during parks operation. In addition to this, these parks are co - managed by local Community Organizations and are highly visited both by local and foreign visitors. Therefore, one of the challenges of our agency is to militate against potential disasters, implement disaster preparedness plans and adequately responding in time of disasters. Our effectiveness in dealing with these challenges is hinged on our ability to plan in advance using available climatologically data and in some cases hydrological data. I anticipate that this workshop would help build my capacity to better able to analyze and prioritize such data and make policy decision regarding climate change related and vulnerability issues as regards the management of these parks.


George Braithwaite

I first entered the Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service in 1978 after a few years of teaching. During my thirty one (31) years in Meteorology, The various positions worked include that of a Forecaster/Meteorologist (seventeen years), Climatologist and the Deputy Director.

I obtained a class II forecasting certificate from the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology and a Bachelor's degree (honors) in Mathematics and Meteorology from the University of the West Indies .

The Deputy Director for Antigua and Barbuda is also the Chief Training officer, responsible for, on the job, training of all levels of Meteorological personnel from Antigua and Barbuda . My training at the US Weather Service International Desk/Tropical Desk includes the proper use of numerical weather guidance for the elaboration of objective weather forecast products. This enables me to play an active role in the professional preparation of the service members.

I am a long time participant in the WMO Regional Focus Group weather briefings that are done every month via distance using the VISITview software developed by NOAA and YAHOO messenger for voice over the Internet.

As the current Vice President of the advisory group of Meteorologists to the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO), the headquarters of the regional Meteorological Service, I participate in research and recommending proper forecasting practices throughout the region.

I am also a member of the Regional Association IV Task Team for Aeronautical Meteorology.

Presently I am leading the Antigua and Barbuda effort in the development of a quality assurance system for the enhancement of the Aeronautical Meteorological Service.


Donovan Campbell

Donovan Campbell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography and Geology at the University of the West Indies (Mona campus). His current research focuses on natural hazards and domestic food production. His research utilizes both qualitative (ethnography) and quantitative techniques to understand how small farmers cope with and adapt to climatic variability and change.

His current study area is in southern St. Elizabeth; one of the principal small farming regions in the country and supplies both the domestic market and the Jamaican tourist industry. Farmers in this rain shadow region are susceptible to multiple hazards, and have been particularly badly affected by hurricanes, droughts and bush fires in recent years. One of his overall goals is to provide an understanding of how small-scale food producers in Caribbean are adapting to the various changes that are occurring in their environment.

Donovan has already achieved a number of publications in his area of research and has participated in major academic conferences such as the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG), Institute of British Geographers (IBG) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). One ultimate research goal is to develop a drought forecast system that will help farmers to deal more with day to day weather. Therefore, it is anticipated that the WAS*IS Caribbean will provide opportunities for future research or collaborations and sharing ideas.


Ian Colon-Pagan

My name is Ian C. Colon-Pagan and I was born and raised in a family of four siblings by a single mother in Patillas, Puerto Rico. At the age of four, I experienced the power of Hurricane Hugo, which compelled me into atmospheric science research. I conducted a number of hurricane studies while in middle school, and acquired my high school diploma from a specialized science and math school. This motivated me to pursue a career in this field, and later that year I entered the Physics Department of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, where I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Science in May 2008. Currently, I am a graduate student at North Carolina A&T State University pursuing a master's degree in Physics funded by NOAA's Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology Cooperative Science Center (ISET-CSC). In my research, I am developing a study of the orographic effects on rainfall induced by the passage of tropical cyclones over mountainous islands (Puerto Rico), which will help scientists and forecasters to improve the predictions of quantitative precipitation associated with the passage of this weather phenomenon over the island. I will be participating in the Was*IS Caribbean to understand more deeply issues that affect the Caribbean, and with it, my home island. I am strongly interested in learning about opportunities to help the region through my work, and connect with individuals who share the same interests.


Myriam de la Parra

I am engaged in one research project: “Hurricanes in Mexican history. Memory and catalog”. I'm technical coordinator and a region research co-responsible: South Mexican Pacific. As a coordinator I use to prepared workshops, conferences, teach SIRIDEH methodology to collaborators, and other administrative things.

My first research project was born in an international research: “ENSO risk disasters management in Latin America” LA RED/IAI/CIESAS, et al. On my Bachelor I did a thesis related with poverty and disasters. In my second research project I did a Master thesis related with unequal vulnerability in a case study. But in master I learn to work in an interdisciplinary way. This was a complete professional experience.

I am coming to WAS*IS because the problems of disasters and the risks I think is important to know and understand both sides of the coin: society and nature (in natural hazards case).

I think I'm still learning to understand the problems of disasters, I am looking for a good PhD appropriate to my interests and profile as a social anthropologist. Interacting with researchers interested in the same subjects that interest me enrich my personal training, also my perspective on the problem of disasters worldwide.


Shonel Dwyer

I am employed by the Water Resources Authority (Planning and Investigation Unit) in the capacity of hydrogeologist. The following summarizes my functional responsibilities as Hydrogeologist at the Water Resources Authority:

  • Conducts water resources appraisals to determine water availability and development potential. Water resources appraisals/assessments involve analysing and interpreting hydrogeologic data which may be collated from records within the Water Resources Authority database (desk review) or data collected from field exercises.
  • Monitoring and assessment of pollution hazards – Impact of bauxite to alumina processing on water quality.
  • Provides technical information and advice on ground water or related matters to units within the Authority and when so delegated, to external agencies, government and private, through reports and attendance at meetings.
  • Undertakes hydrogeologic mapping, hydrogeologic reconnaissance and lithological well logging, geophysical resistivity profiling, pump testing, down the hole video surveying (tele-logging) and other field activities.
  • Executes research with the objective of making a contribution to orderly water resources development and management – Description of the Rio Minho Alluvial Aquifer (initiated by the Managing Director).
  • GIS and other computer support on various projects.

Weather and Society*Integrated Studies (WAS*IS) has introduced fundamental concepts of understanding and evaluating the relationship between weather and society. This enables practitioners to be more comprehensive and sustainable in their approach by taking into account impacts on both the physical and social environments. As a hydrological researcher and practitioner, I am most interested in analyzing and quantifying societal risks from extreme meteorological events and how to integrate these in the assessment of hazard vulnerability (in particular as they relate to hydrological phenomena). The Water Resources Authority in its institutional capacity has created and managed community flood warning systems. The Rio Cobre Flood Warning System was originally conceptualized in the late 1990s to protect the Portmore community from flooding associated with the Rio Cobre. The system consists of four rainfall intensity gauges in the upper Rio Cobre watershed (Ewarton, Guys Hill, Riversdale and Glengoffe), two streamflow gauging stations (Bog Walk and Spanish Town ), two repeater stations (Sligoville and Caymanas) and two Base stations (Water Resources Authority- WRA and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management-ODPEM). Warning messages are triggered based on recorded water levels at the Rio Cobre at Bog Walk. The incorporation of rainfall gauges allows for advanced warning due to the time it takes between rainfall and high water levels. Once certain rainfall intensities and volumes are exceeded the model would indicate at what time flooding is to be expected. Sufficient warning time is therefore available for mitigative measures. The mode of data transmission is via VHF frequency.

Over the years other communities (Rivoli and Thompson Pen) have benefitted from the system with active community groups receiving training in understanding flooding risks. The Bog Walk Gorge with its many instances of vehicles trapped in the gorge during floods is also benefitting from the system as the water level information at Bog Walk is real time transmitted to the WRA and ODPEM offices. From this location security personnel at the Bog Walk and Spanish Town side are alerted to block the gorge entrances.

With increased capacity building and training from this WAS*IS workshop, it is anticipated that professionals will be better equipped with tools to integrate weather phenomena with social issues.


Estatio Gutierrez

Estatio Gutierrez got a degree in Hydrometeorology Engineering at the Central University of Venezuela in 2006. During his college years, he worked as a student assistant for different subjects like general meteorology, statistics among others. At his senior year, he completed a 2-month internship at department of hydrometeorology forecasts in CVG-EDELCA. After graduation, he got hired as assistant professor at the Hydrometeorology Engineering Department where he started doing researches related to numerical modeling. The years previous starting a master program in San Jose State University, Gutierrez published four papers analyzing different topics like Saharian dust advections over the Caribbean, tropical cyclones statistics over Venezuela and synoptic climatology in the Caribbean and Venezuela . Some of his worked has been presented on international conferences in Mexico , Cuba , Colombia and Venezuela . In November 2007, he started developing the Virtual Meteorology Center ( ) a website that provides weather information from different sources in realtime for Venezuela and the Caribbean . In 2008 a google maps interface was created to facilitate the access to the information in an interactive way. After three semesters in San Jose State , he was awarded with a scholarship from NOAA/CREST to study in a PhD program at City College of New York. As a member of the Coastal Urban Environmental Research Group ( ) he is evaluating the impacts of urban environments, specifically New York City , in the urban heat island development and sea breeze formation. In summer 2009, he completed a internship at NCAR working in the same topic. In 2010, he was awarded for the best poster presentation on the 90st AMS Annual Meeting.


Hugo Hidalgo

Dr. Hidalgo is a surface water hydrologist with a “Licenciatura” degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Costa Rica and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (with a major in water resources) from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  His interests are related to (hydro) meteorological and climatic variability and change from very low frequency (~20 years or more) hydroclimatic variations obtained from paleoclimatic proxy indicators, to the study of observations and modeling of multi-year to daily hydrological variability (which contains extreme drought and flood events). Some of  Dr. Hidalgo's experience has been associated with the estimation of the impacts of climatic and meteorological variability and change in surface water hydrology and in other related fields: wildfire potentials, water management in agricultural regions, aridity, droughts and floods. Along with other climate-related impacts such as climate-induced disaster mitigation, hydro-power generation, agricultural production and public health, all these fields have evident social and economical repercussions.   From 1992 to 1996 Dr. Hidalgo worked as a consultant in Costa Rica, he worked as a Teaching Assistant/Fellow for UCLA's Physics and Astronomy Department from 1997-2001 and from 1998 to 2009 as a Graduate, Postdoc, Visiting and Research Scientist for the University of California at the campuses in Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). In February 2009 he joined the faculty of the School of Physics at the University of Costa Rica.  As part of his responsibilities Dr. Hidalgo is the main PI of a modeling effort to simulate hydrological variability and change in Central America using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrological model. It is expected that this study would result in better short , mid and long range forecasts based for example in statistical or dynamical downscaling of meteorological forecasts from global climate models and using  this information to feed VIC in order to obtain hydrological parameters, or using El Niño-Southern Oscillation variations and forecasts for seasonal hydrological forecasting.  Dr. Hidalgo is also part of a program (funded by the Swedish International Development Agency) for studying the best way to mitigate climate-induced disasters in Central America. His interest and connection with the WAS*IS Caribbean group is to discuss the best ways to produce a more effective link between (hydro) meteorological information and decision making which will result in concrete societal benefits.

For more information on Dr. Hidalgo, please visit


Josiah Hudlin

I worked as a Meteorological Assistant at the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Office up until 2008 where I decided to pursue further studies in a Masters programme of Environmental Science and Management at the University of Trinidad and Tobago . Prior to this I obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree at UWI St. Augustine in Environmental and Natural Resource Management. The minors I also obtained helped to provide a holistic view of societal issues interlocked by the environmental and economic stressors to communities. My minors were in Communication and Extensions and International Relations. Throughout this current program I engaged in research on Invasive Species such as the Melanoides Tuberculata, I looked at developing management plans for Pharmaceutical Companies and their wastes as well as and in-depth look at the development of Trinidad and Tobago's National Environmental Policies and mapping out stakeholder involvements within this aspect.

I realised an opportunity to attend a workshop such as this because the very fundamental structure encompasses my desires in seeing Meteorology play a more integrated role in society. As a Meteorological Assistant, I interfaced with the public on a daily basis by providing valuable and necessary information in the form of reports, forecasts, updates and observation recordings to a wide receptive public which included and was not limited to pilots, fishermen, teachers, schools, farmers, companies, researchers and the news media. This data and information was viewed as critical from ranges of policy or decision making processes, disaster management to basic routines of daily living. However, because of the need for information in my research program, I still see the need for an improved service to an even wider audience. This can only happen if the decision makers share the same view which sadly is a slow process. Therefore, by attending this workshop it is my hope that I can generate discussions and cause movement in a static environment since my sphere of Environmental Science and Management relies on packets of data that can be used to generate helpful policies for the society.


Antonio Joyette

Antonio Joyette is the currently the head of the Meteorology Office in St. Vincent and the Grenadines . His background is in Aeronautical Meteorology, Climatology, Natural Resource Management, Climate Change, Information Technology and Education..

He is currently am member of the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO) Operational Meteorology Operational Meteorology Advisory Group (COMAG). He has written on the subjects of weather and climate, climate change and catastrophe risk transfer mechanisms in the Caribbean .

In 2009, he completed an MSc, with the University of the West Indies (UWI), in Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a concentration in CC. His researched focused on assessing the efficacy of catastrophe risk transfer mechanisms in the Caribbean .

His research interests are diverse but focused weather impacts, natural hazards, climate and catastrophe data and mapping, community risk transfer mechanisms, vulnerabilities and resilient. Current projects include a Quality Management System (QMS) for the Meteorological Office and a climate assessment.

Antonio believe this opportunity to attend WASIS will provide him with invaluable exposure to gain knowledge, acquire skills and forge relationships and networks for learning and sharing with those who have experiences. He is hoping to learn new and effective means of effectively communicating risk and uncertainty as they relates to integrating Meteorology and Social activities. He is also hoping to learn new and or effective methods and approaches to capture quantitative and qualitative values, discuss vulnerability and resilience to weather and climate impacts in the Caribbean region and consider the unique needs of the region and how science and policy can help to address them. Antonio is looking to gain new insights into how technologies can be applied in the Caribbean region to integrate weather and society's needs so as to improve the lives of its citizens.


Miguel Lopez

I graduated college with a BBA in Marketing from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico . Ever since I started working with the Municipality of Ponce PR in 1995 I came across experiences with cartography and eventually Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technologies. I have been a key collaborator with the Municipality of Ponce (Local Government) with several projects regarding GIS as part of the Ponce Strategic Master Plan and the Permitting processes.  I have also been a key stakeholder in weather related emergencies for the Ponce Municipal Government (hurricane, tropical storms & floods) since 1996. My interest in WAS*IS comes from the desire to gain a new knowledge on the psychology of people's responses to unexpected weather emergencies. I recognize that this new skills will enable me to achieve a new level of engagement and service with the citizens of Ponce , Puerto Rico .  It also will provide me new tools to share at the local government level, providing a new understanding of the people's response and their wants and needs in the case of a weather related emergency.


Adanna Robertson

Ms. Robertson is a Programme Officer with Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency supporting the management and implementation of the Mainstreaming Climate Change into Disaster Risk Management for the Caribbean Region (CCDM) Project. She also participates in the preparedness and response efforts during times of overwhelming disasters in the Caribbean Region.

Ms. Robertson possesses a BSc. in Mathematics and Meteorology and a MSc. in Natural Resource and Environment Management with a specialisation in Climate Change which she obtained from the University of the West Indies . She also trained at the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology which has been instrumental in her career in Meteorology and its applications. Her interest in this field, also led to her service at the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services from 2004 at 2008 where she worked as a Meteorological Officer.

Ms. Robertson was involved in the implementation of the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change (MACC) Regional Project, conducting a vulnerability and capacity assessment of the tourism sector in Speightstown , Barbados in response to climate change. Her longstanding interest in Climate Change and her realisation of its crippling effects on the Region has promoted her transition into the field of disaster risk reduction.

The WAS*IS Workshop presents an ideal opportunity to share knowledge and experiences and; to learn of innovative ways of making scientific information more usable to communities as well as to build and sustain valuable networks.


Ahira Sanchez-Lugo

I am a physical scientist at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in the Climate Monitoring Branch. One of my primary responsibilities at the NCDC is to be the lead author of NCDC's monthly State of the Climate global assessment, where I am in charge of analyzing climate data, along with recognizing and documenting emerging climate events. Recently I've realized that my passion lies on climate/weather and society linkages and I've been inspired to initiate a greater scientific role within NCDC, researching the climate/weather and society interface, specifically the Caribbean region where I am originally from. I believe that the WAS*IS workshop would be very beneficial to advancing my work at NCDC as well as fostering an interest in new contributions to the NOAA mission. 


Jenniffer Santos

Jenniffer M. Santos-Hernandez is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. In 2007, Santos-Hernández completed her master's thesis focused on Development, Vulnerability and Disasters in Puerto Rico. For the past eight years she has conducted extensive years in the social aspects of disasters, particularly on issues of risk communication, development, and social vulnerability to disasters. Jenniffer is finishing her dissertation research focused on risk, social vulnerability and emergency management in Puerto Rico. She entered the graduate program in sociology at the University of Delaware after receiving a B.A. in sociology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM). As an undergraduate, she completed a certification in International Population and Development from the University of Michigan-Population Fellows Program that took her to Petén, Guatemala to work with a local NGO in the Mayan Biosphere Reserve. She also completed a certification in Applied Social Research from the University of Puerto Rico-Center for Applied Social Research (CISA); where she also worked for three years as a research assistant for several projects.

During her time at the University of Delaware, Jenniffer worked for the Disaster Research Center on several projects, including the DRC-End-User Integration project and the Puerto Rico Student Led Test Bed, which are part of the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere project (CASA) and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Jenniffer served as the lead graduate student of an interdisciplinary research effort focusing on vulnerability and resilience in flood prone areas of Puerto Rico. As part of that project she developed the Puerto Rico Disaster Decision Support Tool. In addition, she also served as the lead graduate student for the project Population Composition, Geographic Distribution, and Natural Hazards: Vulnerability in the Coastal Regions of Puerto Rico which was funded by the NOAA's Sea Grant College Program.

Her interests include: demography, risk communication, political sociology, race, class and gender, Latino/a sociology, development, social change, sociological theory, environmental justice and geographic information science.


Susan Soltero

Susan Soltero is an Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist for Univision Puerto Rico.  She is currently the morning weather anchor and hosts a noon environmental segment called “ Susan en su Ambiente”  or “ “Susan in her Environment” and has become well known for her science and environmental reporting.  She is the chief meteorologist at Boricua 740am where she is in charge of at least seven daily weather updates and special reports.  She also hosts a one hour radio program which runs daily from 3-4pm AST on WALO 1240am in Humacao and can be heard on  called “ A Ciencia Cierta”  or “ True Science”.  She has won numerous awards and recognitions from the state legislature for her work with the environment.  She has also written several books and is working on a third.  Her book about the Manatees in Puerto Rico was the first book written about manatees in Puerto Rico and is a big hit in schools.  Highlights of her career include swimming with manatees, flying into the eye of hurricane Georges before in made landfall in Puerto Rico with the hurricane hunters (two engines died in that run-quite and adventure), following humpback whales in Dominican Republic and sky diving from an altitude of four miles (a high altitude dive which earned her the Emmy Award).  She is the mother of another young adventurer who is currently learning to fly.  She was born and raised in Puerto Rico and hopes to leave a legacy of animal protection and environmental protection on the island.  During the WAS*IS seminar she hopes to gain a lot of insight she can share with her viewers and listeners and will be transmitting live from 3-4pm every day.


Evan Thompson

During my time in High School, I developed an interest in the field of meteorology after attending a career talk. At the time, I was pursuing natural sciences and this new found interest gave me greater focus in physics and mathematics. Continuing my education through college, I later enrolled at the University of the West Indies and completed a first degree in pure and applied sciences, majoring in meteorology.

During my periods of vacation from school, I gained employment at the Meteorological Service in Jamaica as a Weather Observer at the international airport in the capital, Kingston. This ensued for four years before graduation, after which I was hired as a Meteorologist, providing forecast information for local, aviation and marine interest.

After five years on the “bench”, I was promoted to the position of Section Head for the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) and served in that capacity for one year before being appointed head of the Weather Branch in the Service. As Weather Branch Head, I was given responsibility for managing operations at the NMC, the Upper-Air Station, the Synoptic Sub-Station at our other international airport in Montego Bay, the Radar Station and the Instruments and Equipment Section. These comprise a total of 30 members of staff.

My tenure as Meteorologist and Manager has created opportunities for me to visit a number of countries in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean dealing with topics from hurricane forecasting and research, public weather services and numerical weather prediction to disaster management.

In the year 1999, I was selected to be the face of my organization as Weather Presenter on the premier television station on the island, Television Jamaica. Although my entry to television was somewhat of an accident, I have performed that role for over ten years and have effectively trained a number of other presenters who have worked with me on the station.

Information about WAS*IS Caribbean was circulated to me by a former colleague. I found the aims of the organization to integrate meteorology with social sciences very interesting and am looking forward to the experience broadening my appreciation of meteorology and providing me with greater ideas to make it more applicable to everyday living in my home country.


John Tibbetts

I have worked for the past 26 years as a staff member of the developing National Weather Service. I successfully completed the Class II Operational Weather Forecaster Course at the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology and have been an operational forecaster for the past 23 years. During this time I have attended a number of workshops to further develop myself including a four month attachment the National Center for Environmental Prediction, one week National Hurricane Center workshop as well as a one month attachment, Satellite conference, Volcanic Ash etc. Additionally, I was exposed to earthquake measurement with a trip to Pasadena California.

In recent years I have served as the Chief Meteorologist for the Cayman Islands National Weather Service. I am currently completing a Bachelor’s in Science with a major in Operational Meteorology at Mississippi State. As a part of this course I was exposed to a wide era of science including disasters associated with volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.

As an operational weather forecaster for 20+ years I have been around since the early days of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service. During that time I have seen significant changes in the development of my country and the National Weather Service. As the two have grown the social roles of the National Weather Service to the country is becoming clearer and more critical. As one of the senior forecasters within the National Weather Service it is required for me to take the lead in the interaction between the weather service and society.
I am hoping that this workshop will assist me with ideas more specific to the interaction with the social sciences and the weather service in the Cayman Islands. I am looking forward to interaction with others that have interests in this area.


John Toohey-Morales

John Morales, joined NBC 6 as Chief Meteorologist on May 18, 2009. Widely known and trusted by South Florida viewers, Morales has been a familiar face and reassuring presence in the South Florida market for nearly 20 years. His accurate weather predictions aided viewers during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and throughout the unprecedented eight hurricane strikes in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. In 2005, Morales was honored with the second of his two Emmy Awards for his coverage of Hurricane Wilma. In what could be considered his most important scientific recognition, Morales earned the 2007 American Meteorological Society Outstanding Contribution to the Advance of Applied Meteorology Award.

Born in Schenectady, New York of an Irish-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, John was raised in Puerto Rico and later returned to his roots in New York to attend the meteorology program at prestigious Cornell University. After graduation in 1984, he was hired by the U.S. National Weather Service to work in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Lake Charles, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. During his government career, John became a Lead Forecaster before accepting a position as Chief of the South American Desk at the National Center for Environmental Prodictions.  From 1991 through 2002, Morales served as Chief Meteorologist for the Univision Network and its Miami Affiliate station, WLTV. From 2003 through 2008, he served as Chief Meteorologist for the local Telemundo station, WSCV-Telemundo 51, the sister station of NBC 6. While there, he became the first Hispanic to substitute as meteorologist on NBC's weekend edition of the Today show and did so multiple times.  

Among his many credentials, John Morales holds the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society Seal of Approval for Radio and TV weathercasting, and has won the Broadcaster of the Year Award from both organizations. In addition, he is accredited by the American Meteorological Association as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist. 

In 1997, Morales participated in Vice President Al Gore's White House conference on global warming and climate changes.  He is the author of "Hurricanes: Know Your Enemy," an everyday reference book on hurricanes.  In 1993, he received an Emmy Award for "48 Hours Before the Storm," an informational program detailing life-saving measures and precautions to take in preparation for a hurricane.

Morales, his wife Carmen and their family reside in Miami.  In his free time, he enjoys piloting his Cessna 210.


Jorge Trabal

I am currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). My work is part of the Engineering Research Center for Collaborative and Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere, where I pursue a dissertation topic in the area of radar networks for weather applications with special attention to rainfall estimation. My research is based on radar quantitative precipitation estimation using radar networks, including the design and construction of a unique “Off-the-Grid” radar network in western Puerto Rico, research that is being conducted with the collaboration between the Universities of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM), Massachusetts, Colorado State, McGill (Canada), and Delaware. The project is very complex, both technologically and organizationally, and it involves innovations in radar system hardware and software, as well as the cross-disciplinary collaboration between engineering, the atmospheric, computer and social sciences, and meteorology.  As the Technical Integration Leader for the CASA rainfall test bed in Puerto Rico, my work requires to be in near-continuous interaction with, and to supervise younger students. I am also a member of CASA's Executive Committee, where I participate in all aspects of the management and the leadership of the CASA center.

Participating in the WAS*IS Caribbean Workshop, I expect to acquire the necessary tools to better understand and improve the cross-disciplinary collaboration which includes meteorologists, engineers and atmospheric, social and computer scientists required for the successful development  of the CASA Student-Led Test Bed radar network in Puerto Rico. Moreover, I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge and experiences gained from participating in WAS*IS with future generations of professionals in the Caribbean region.


Adrian Trotman

Mr. Adrian Trotman is currently the Acting Chief of Applied Meteorology and Climatology (AMC) at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH). His technical role within AMC is in agrometeorology (training and research and development) through his training received in the MSc Agricultural Meteorology programme at University of Reading , UK . Mr. Trotman also holds a BSc in Meteorology and Mathematics and an MPhil in Biology, both from the University of the West Indies . Mr. Trotman has been and is currently involved in multidisciplinary projects where the impacts of weather and climate were in the forefront. These include the Caribbean Sea Ecosystem Assessment (CARSEA), one of the sub-global assessments within the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment (MA). One of the areas of focus was the link between weather systems, climate and climate change and marine habitats and fisheries in the Caribbean and its role in livelihoods of those impacted. Another regional project of note is that on Global Environmental Change and Food Systems in the Caribbean (GECAFS Caribbean), which included impacts of climate and climate change on regional food systems and food security and policy responses that can mitigate negative impacts on food security. Mr. Trotman coordinates the Caribbean Agrometeorological Initiative, European Union funded project which seeks to improve weather and climate information for the regional farming community with the hope of improving yields and sustaining the livelihoods of farmers. Finally, there is the Caribbean Water Initiative (CARIWIN), which he coordinates for the region. This collaboration between CIMH and the Brace Centre of the McGill University, Canada seeks to improve Integrated Water Resources Management in the Caribbean by teasing out best management practices in three pilot countries – Guyana , Grenada and Jamaica . Within CARIWIN, his technical responsibility is the development of the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network which played a significant role in providing drought information and advice to the public during the 2009-10 drought in the Caribbean . With the links to society being an integral component in these projects, Mr. Trotman sees Was*Is as the perfect opportunity to expand his knowledge in the area of climate and society and maybe even lend to the meeting itself through his own experiences gained in these projects.


Hubert Whyte

Hubert work as an electrician before entering the Meteorological service in 1983. He earned a Class four certificate in 1983, Class three in 1987 and class two 1991. He currently serves as a Senior Meteorological Technician responsible for making public and aviation forecasts, conducting on the job training for newly graduated forecasters, conducting school tours, maintenance of Meteorological and related instruments.

He attended several training program at the Hurricane centre including RA4 Hurricane Work shop and EMWIN ( emergency managers weather information network), MM5 in Cuba and many other training offered by suppliers of  Weather Instrument.

He is a member of the Grenada Sustainable Development Council, Member of the Grenada Climate Change Committee and actively participated in Grenada’s initial communication to the UNFCC (United Nation’s framework on climate change).

Hubert recently concluded a course in Airport Operations.  


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