× Business BUSINESS MOTORING SHIPPING & LOGISTICS DR PESA FINANCIAL STANDARD Digital News Videos Health & Science Lifestyle Opinion Education Columnists Moi Cabinets Arts & Culture Fact Check Podcasts E-Paper Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman Travelog TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×

African countries get new tool to predict climate-related disasters

BUSINESS
By Reuters | May 18th 2020 | 2 min read
By Reuters | May 18th 2020
BUSINESS

A new weather forecasting system in Africa allows meteorologists to track approaching storms in real time, potentially saving lives from climate-related disasters, scientists said on Monday.

The technology is already used in developed countries but was not available until recently in most of sub-Saharan Africa, according to scientists behind the project at the University of Leeds.

“We had forecasting methods before but they were not as good,” said David Koros, principal meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological Department.

“It’s very important because we can issue information for the safety of lives, property and the environment,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The new method, called nowcasting, was tested in Kenya last year. The state now uses it regularly and it has helped with the evacuation of people affected by landslides and mudslides in Western Kenya and flooding on Lake Victoria, Koros said.

Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana also have teams interpreting the satellite-derived data and issuing warnings through an initiative funded by the British government.

“Weather forecasting is potentially very valuable to people’s lives in Africa in a way that I think people in northern countries are more detached from,” said Doug Parker, a professor of meteorology at Leeds and co-lead of the project.

Extreme weather is becoming more common in Africa as the planet warms, resulting in huge losses for economies dependent on farming and countless deaths due to floods and mudslides.

“If it weren’t for climate change we’d still need to do this, but climate change makes it more imperative because the storms are getting more intense,” said Parker.

Nowcasting uses satellites that monitor changes in the atmosphere. Information recorded in space can reach the forecasters’ desks in 15 minutes.

It allows meteorologists to alert people that there is a storm very close and headed their way, said Parker.

The forecasts now cover all of Africa and are freely available online, but interpreting and disseminating the data is another question.

"As our next steps, we are working to make this information accessible for the ordinary person," said Parker.

Share this story
Kenya Railways suspends operations at Kijabe area
Flash floods over the weekend killed a railway worker prompting the suspension of work on the Metre Gauge Railway line at Kijabe.
China rejected Kenya's request for Sh32.8b debt moratorium
China is Kenya’s largest bilateral lender with an outstanding debt of Sh692 billion.
.
RECOMMENDED NEWS
Feedback