Weather ‘nowcasting’ serves Kenyan farmers

Near-term forecasts provide farmers and fishers with information to better time their work in the face of climate risks This article was originally published on China Dialogue under the Creative Commons BY NC ND licence. On a fine morning at Kaptoroi village in Kenya’s western county of Kericho, Leonard Maritim is planting maize as a light rain sets in. The 29 year old has been growing maize, beans and black nightshade for a decade now, and he is also a small-scale dairy farmer. Maritim says his beans did not make it last year because on two occasions he sprayed them with pesticides shortly before…

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The FASTA weather Nowcasting App is now live for Kenya

Today’s launch is in partnership with the Kenya Meteorological Department, offering real-time maps of thunderstorms to people with smartphones across the country.   The app can now be downloaded from the Google Play Store.   Across much of Africa, intense rainfall events are damaging to agriculture and can be especially devastating for smallholder farmers. In severe cases, storms can also lead to fatalities, such as on Lake Victoria where thousands of fishers drown every year when their boats capsize in heavy weather.  Storms can also disrupt critical transport routes.   Intense rainfall events are predicted to increase in frequency due to climate change,…

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An ethical weather service for Africa

Can the financial benefits of international research stay in the countries that need it most? How do you turn UK-funded scientific research into a commercial product for use in Africa, while ensuring the profits benefit that continent and not the UK? This is the dilemma facing Professor Douglas Parker and his colleagues. They’ve developed a means of providing short-term predictions of extreme weather, which they call ‘now-casting’. “It gives people advance warning of storms and heavy rain — something that’s currently not available in most of sub-Saharan Africa,” says Professor Parker. “Having a few hours before the storm hits in which to…

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