Weather Briefs – Canada’s lead critical to NATO’s mission success

A bearded civilian sits at a desk and moves the mouse of a computer. A military member in uniform points to the screen of the computer.
Corporal François Chiasson (left), a Meteorological Technician from Joint Meteorological Center at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, discuses weather patterns with Sivert Dørum (right), Norwegian Meteorological personnel, during Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 in Bodo, Norway on October 30, 2018. Image by: Corporal Bryan Carter, 4 Wing Imaging CK04-2018-0922-081

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By Meteorological Technicians, Joint Meteorological Centre, Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE

Weather predictions can sometimes be perceived as an afterthought, but not for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Having accurate, mission-focussed weather forecasts is not only vital to every aspect of RCAF operations, it is also tremendously valuable for certain missions. This was no exception during NATO’s Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 that took place in Norway from October 25 to November 7.

Having assumed the role of the Integrated Meteorological and Oceanographic Lead Nation earlier this year, Canada played a lead role during TRIDENT JUNCTURE. Being the lead nation means that Canada is responsible for providing dedicated meteorological and oceanographic support, data, and products to the NATO Response Force.

During the exercise, a stimulating collaboration between Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Meteorological Technicians and their Norwegian colleagues developed flawlessly, and with significant outcomes.

Weather conditions in northern regions can fluctuate significantly and have a direct impact on air operations. Competent and ready-to-deploy Meteorological Technicians of all ranks are essential each and every time their expertise is called upon to meet the requirements of the RCAF. TRIDENT JUNCTURE provided a fantastic opportunity for the Joint Meteorological Centre based out of Gagetown, New Brunswick, to deploy its personnel to gain valuable experience while working with Allied and NATO Partners.

“Meteorological Technicians are vital to ensure that commanders at all levels are able to plan and carry out their missions to a successful conclusion,” said Warrant Officer Cory Engerdahl, Meteorological and Oceanographic Liaison. Warrant Officer Engerdahl is the primary contact between Canadian, Norwegian, and NATO Meteorological Services. He ensures that each Meteorological Technician in theatre has the tools needed to accomplish the mission, and advises upper command personnel in regards to strategic meteorological challenges.

Corporals Brandon Merriam and Francois Chiasson were also deployed to Norway from the Joint Meteorological Centre to support the Air Task Force during the exercise. Both Meteorological Technicians were very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the Norwegian meteorological office in Bodo, Norway.

“Getting to work with our allies, civilian and military, allows us to learn from one another, becoming a stronger and more cohesive alliance,” said Corporal Merriam.  “Taking each country’s best practices improve how Meteorological Technicians operate at home and abroad.”

Both Meteorological Technicians utilized Canadian and Norwegian weather products to help support the mission.

Corporal Merriam worked in collaboration with Norwegian counterparts to produce weather packages published daily to present to all participating nations for mission planning at the Headquarters. Corporal Chiasson utilized these products to brief Pilots and the air task force Commander about weather impacts to all assets in theatre.

The participation of CAF personnel in this NATO exercise provided an excellent opportunity to develop their skills and to enhance their ability to operate with NATO Allies and partners while building cohesion within the Alliance.

“Working with our Allies and other international partners on Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE was extremely important to further strengthen our partnership and our ability to work together towards a common goal,” said Corporal Chiasson. “Hence, the integration of CAF Meteorological Technicians within the Norwegian meteorological office was, without a doubt, extremely valuable for our occupation.”

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  • A bearded civilian sits at a desk and moves the mouse of a computer. A military member in uniform points to the screen of the computer.
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