Dr. Jose Rubiera
National Forecast Center of the Institute of Meteorology
Advances in early warning science and technology are heading nowhere if the early warning does not lead to an early action. Great achievements could also be obtained in underdeveloped countries if several conditions are previously met. Cuba is an example of an undeveloped country, also with many economic problems, that has a successful story in preventing loss of lives in tropical cyclones.
The amount of people dead in hurricanes is the lowest in the region. Knowing that Hurricanes are increasing in strength and being more rainy and destructive in an environment of Climate Change, Cuban contribution is also focused toward an adaptation to Climate Change to reduce vulnerability. Prevention carries along not only hazard and vulnerability studies that have been already made for the whole country, up to the municipal and neighbourhood levels. Also planning is very important to avoid replicating vulnerabilities. Preparation is intense before the onset of every Hurricane Season. At the response stage the National Forecast Center and the Media, along with the Civil Defence, plays a major role in preventing loss of lives.
The forecasting, preparedness and communication processes, including warnings and early warning, as well as the hurricane problem arising from a period of high hurricane activity in the Atlantic and the changes that are occurring in Sea Surface Temperatures are reviewed in some details.
José María Rubiera Torres (Ph.D.) is the Director of the National Forecast Center of the Institute of Meteorology, in Havana, Cuba. He is also Vice Chairman of the WMO (World Meteorological Organization (WMO, United Nation specialized agency in weather and climate) Regional Association IV Hurricane Committee (North America, Central America and the Caribbean) since 1991 (co-chaired with the Director of the US National Hurricane Center, Miami, USA). He is also a Member of the WMO Expert Team on Meteorological Communication and Outreach and a Member of the WMO Task Force Expert Team on Disaster Risk Reduction in WMO RA IV.
He is a Senior Professor at the School of Meteorology in Havana, Cuba. He has been awarded with the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at Las Villas Central University in Cuba. He is an active Member of the International Association of Broadcast Meteorologists (IABM).
He is also a Member of the Cuban Association of Social Communicators (Asociación Nacional de Comunicadores Sociales ACCS). He has devoted his work in the field of operational weather forecasting, mainly to aspects of meteorological hazards, such as hurricanes and severe weather, weather communication, also popularizing science for the public through the Media, mainly TV and radio, but also in printed articles. His main areas of work and research are the watch and warning processes in hurricanes, as well as the forecasting process and its implications for society, but at the same time he works in popularizing science giving education to the public through the Media, TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. He has made presentations in more than 90 meetings and events held in Cuba and abroad.