Automatic weather stations to reduce climate change effects.

Jul 15, 2016

Accurate weather information supports development efforts in so many ways. Photo: members of the CI&EWS team inspecting the Lungi weather station during a recent nationwide tour. © John Terry/ UNDP Sierra Leone

Freetown, July 15 -The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and in collaboration with the Meteorological Department (MDSL) and Ministry of Water Resources, has last Friday finalized an assessment of weather stations around Sierra Leone. 

The twelve-day-long assessment aimed at evaluating the current state of available weather stations in order to identify locations for the installation of new upgraded ones. 

Sierra Leone has been very prone to disastrous weather conditions, as there has been very limited weather monitoring systems in place to record the effects of changing climates. This has led to the destruction of lives and properties. Presently Sierra Leone rates amongst three countries most prone flooding.

The project titled “Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Africa” is seeking to support climate resilient development and adaptation to climate change. The team of experts will start installation of new automatic weather stations by end of August 2016.

The team visited all the districts in the country including important locations like Lungi (Freetown International Airport), Rokupr where the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) and Musaia – a very remote town bordering Guinea.  

Presently there is only one fully functional weather station in the country located - the Freetown International Airport weather station. The new automatic weather stations that would be installed will provide accurate and real-time weather information to help government and its partners follow emerging weather patterns and prevent/plan against disasters.

The stations will record atmospheric temperature, soil temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, rainfall and atmospheric pressure. Other devices such as loggers would be installed by river banks to record water levels.

In Bumbuna, where the Hydro-electric dam, a major national asset is located, the Paramount Chief of Kalasongoia Chiefdom, PC Alimamy Bockarie Yalan Koroma III, said his chiefdom supports the project and that proper management of the proposed weather station will be ensured.

PC Alimamy Bockarie Yalan Koroma III  said “Bumbuna is a very vulnerable chiefdom, as it attracts jobseekers from all over the country. We are grateful to the UNDP for this intervention, especially when the unpredictable weather conditions have affected farming methods, livelihoods, and other aspects of our lives.”

In Kabala, the Chief Administrator of the Koinadugu District Council, Mr. Raymond K.M. Bindi informed the team that the district has suffered a fair share of wind disasters, leading to loss of lives and property as well as intensifying poverty. 

“We have already learnt not to underestimate climate change, as it has had adverse effects our people. We hope this weather installation will help us as a council prevent, or prepare well against imminent natural dangers.” Bindi said

Director of MDSL, Alpha Bockarie said the support will help his department “Provide reliable weather updates for the safety and protection of lives and properties of Sierra Leoneans.”

Mr. Bockarie added “Thanks to UNDP two of our staff are in the United Kingdom pursuing a master’s degree and soon we will install automatic weather stations all over the country. We are gradually being upgraded to international standard. Our work is very vital to national development and cannot be understated.”

UNDP through its Energy, Environment and Natural Resource Management Cluster works in vulnerable communities to reduce the impacts of climate change and risks of natural and man-made disasters in Sierra Leone by reinforcing and supporting institutions and communities to properly prevent or manage natural disasters.

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