Açoriano Oriental
In Pico "we are great connoisseurs of time"

The documentary 'Weather written in the clouds' includes 14 testimonies from people in Pico who, by observing the clouds, the moon and the sea, for example, make their own weather forecasts.

Autor: Paula Gouveia

Can you imagine predicting the weather by reading and analyzing the clouds, land, sea, moon, and stars? It is not easy at all, but in the Azores there are still many people who do it. In Pico, the characteristics of the island and the mountain itself mean that people's ability to predict the weather is even more remarkable.

 It is this memory and the testimonies of those who work at sea and on land in Pico that Paulo Henrique Silva wanted to preserve with the documentary 'O tempo escrito nas nuvens' (The weather written in the clouds).

There have been official weather forecasts in the Azores based on mathematical and scientific models for over 100 years. However, Paulo Henrique Silva explains in an interview with Açoriano Oriental that, since the Azores have been populated for over 500 years, there has always been a need for people to read the weather.

In this way, the documentary aims to address the "population’s empirical knowledge in weather forecasts", says the director.

In total, 14 testimonies were collected that document the memory of people who use empirical knowledge to predict the weather. Some do it out of fascination with the clouds themselves or other elements of nature, others for work reasons, and the majority because it is already an inherent skill, the result of years and years of oral traditions passing on this knowledge.

Although they recognize the great evolution of weather forecasts in scientific and mathematical terms and also through the use of satellite images, Pico islanders admit that this information is not always reliable, given the instability of the Azorean climate.

For this reason, many resort to empirical knowledge, especially those who depend on good weather to carry out their jobs, such as skippers or mountain guides.
"We are great connoisseurs of the weather," says one of the testimonies. "What I see is more important than what I hear," says another interviewee, referring to weather forecasts. Others say that "[seeing the sea] is the first thing" they do when they wake up.

There are also those who consider the Pico Mountain to be an "authentic barometer". This can be seen in the way the clouds appear. If there is a 'hat' on top of the mountain, it means that bad weather is coming, says one interviewee.

These are the details they analyze daily. But there are countless others: the speed and direction of the winds, the phases of the moon, the stars and the clouds on Pico and even in São Jorge. There are no limits to these daily weather forecasts. People observe and analyze this plethora of elements, each in their own way and considering what they have been taught. Most people have been doing this since childhood.

Paulo Henrique Silva says that, of all these observations covered in the documentary, "99% have a proper explanation, a scientific framework". The explanations behind this knowledge and this ability to predict the weather culminated in the desire to document this reality and people's memories.

Thus, with the production of the Pico Museum, this documentary serves not only to "preserve memories", but also oral traditions that are very important in the daily lives of Azoreans, says Paulo Henrique Silva.

'Time written in the clouds' premiered on October 14 at the Whalers' Museum. The documentary, written by Paulo Henrique Silva, is a production of the Pico Museum, with music by Rafael Carvalho and executive production by Leandra Peixoto, Rogério Soares and Manuel Costa Júnior.

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