Posted on: July 15, 2009 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Zimbabwe. Soon Zimbabwe may boast with at least 5 000 automatic weather stations deployed across Africa if an inititive by the United Nationns and other private partners take off. This initiative has been sparked in the light of climate change mitigation.

Reaching the continent’s most remote communities, the weather stations will be installed at new and existing mobile phone network sites throughout Africa during the course of the next few years, increasing the dissemination of weather information via cellular technologies.

Says Dr. Amos Makarau, Meteorological Services department (WMO) director: “The issue of climate change is very sensitive and the WMO is channeling funds to prevent disasters, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa has at least 33 countries that are considered to be least developed and the WMO will give priority to those areas. We have no doubt that Zimbabwe will benefit by this initiative.”

The initial deployment will focus on the area around Lake Victoria in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with the first 19 automatic weather stations installed doubling the weather-monitoring capacity in the Great Lakes region.

It is reported that once the switch is turned on, ‘a flow of extensive weather data will become available throughout Africa, with benefits extending from the national policy makers to the small-holder farmers’.

According to a recent Global Humanitarian Forum report, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region facing the most immediate risk of drought and floods attributed to climate change.

Approximately 70 percent of Africans rely on farming as a livelihood and meteorological information will become increasingly critical as weather patterns continue to change.