The Malta Meteorological Office on Sunday marks 100 years since the Maltese Islands national weather services provider was established, the office said in a statement.
During the past 100 years, the Meteorological Office has operated from four different locations, with the first move seeing it transfer its operation from Pietà to Saint John’s Cavalier in Valletta, where forecasting was conducted underground during the war.
The second move happened in 1946, bringing the weather services provider closer to the island’s Flight Information Centre and air traffic control services at Luqa airport, allowing it to focus on the provision of weather-related services to the then-flourishing civil aviation industry.
The Meteorological Office has been operating from its fourth location on the Malta International Airport campus since 2002, providing its services to different industries, as well as the general public through the airport website.
A continued investment – particularly over the past two decades – in modern equipment, automated weather stations, weather models and a radar system, have allowed the Meteorological Office to widen and improve the array of services it offers.
Some of the milestones in relation to the provision of weather services include the introduction of a three-day forecast to mariners following the delivery of specialised training to the team, and the extension of a once five-day forecast to the present seven-day forecast in 2016.
The seven-day forecast nowadays continuously ranks among the three most popular pages on the Malta International Airport website, having been viewed more than four million times in 2021 alone.
“In an age when fake news and misinformation are available at the touch of a screen, one of our main challenges is to ensure that Meteorological Office’s official forecasts and weather warnings, through which we aim to inform rather than alarm people, cut through the noise and continue to reach the public. I would like to thank the present team for providing round-the-clock weather services, as well as all persons who formed part of the Met Office team over the years and contributed to the evolution of Malta’s national weather services provider,” said Malta International Airport’s Head of Operations and Business Continuity Ing. Martin Dalmas.
While weather technology and instrumentation have improved by leaps and bounds, the input of the Meteorological Office team remains crucial in ensuring that forecasts are accurate, weather warnings are issued in a timely manner and researchers’ requests for weather-related data are seen to, as part of the smooth day-to-day running of Malta’s only meteorological office.
The team is composed of forecasters, observers and two administrators, one of whom manages the office’s archival records; a trove of hand-plotted synoptic charts, which formed the basis of weather forecasts prior to the advent of technology, and daily weather observations. The first ever observation, which was recorded on the morning of the 10 July 1922, shows that 100 years ago at 7.00am, the temperature stood at 27.3°C, the visibility was good, and a force 2 wind was blowing from the West Northwest.