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Airtel funds project to boost farming in Uganda

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Bharti Airtel's office. Wikimedia Commons

Accra (Ghana): Indian telecommunication giant Airtel is spending $672,000 to support a project to provide timely weather reports to small-scale farmers in Uganda to boost their farming activities, it was announced on Sunday.

Airtel was backing the project undertaken by the Trans Africa Hydro Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO).

“Based on similar activities, in terms of information dissemination, in Malawi and Madagascar,” TAHMO’s co-director Nick van de Giesen told IANS that Airtel was contributing this time to provide important weather information to farmers in Uganda.

The project is also backed by research that shows that African weather was poorly monitored, especially for forecast purposes. TAHMO also has found out that most African societies were vulnerable to extreme weather events.

The organisation, therefore, is helping to make good predictions about rainfall as well as provide information on how much water vapour the atmosphere contains, van de Giesen said.

Admitting that changing weather patterns have been the bane of farming across the African continent, he said TAHMO was helping to “produce early warnings for heavy weather”.

He said:normal weather predictions will improve with better observations and this helps to plan short term farming operations such as planting and fertilising, in addition, detailed weather data allow for weather-index-based micro crop insurance, in which payments depend on nearby measurements.”

Since most of the farmers are illiterates, he said, “the phone messages are actually spoken messages in the relevant local language. So, as long as the farmers or fishermen know how to use a mobile phone, they can receive the messages by simply listening in.”

“We did a small trial pilot in local Luganda language during the preparation phase.”

Using the Global Navigation Satellite System, TAHMO was hoping to improve on rainfall predictions as well as measure the extra delay caused by moisture in the atmosphere

(Francis Kokutse, IANS)
( Photo Credit: www.gizbot.com) 

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High Temperature Records in Antarctica will Take Months to Verify: UN

Antarctic High Temp Records Will Take Months to Verify, says the UN Weather Agency

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ANTARCTICA
View of Orne Harbour in South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. - Brazilian scientists registered Antarctic temperature above 20C for first time on record at Seymour Island on February 9, 2020. VOA

Record high temperatures reportedly measured in Antarctica will take months to verify, the U.N. weather agency said Sunday.

A spokesman for the World Meteorological Organization said the measurements made by researchers from Argentina and Brazil earlier this month have to undergo a formal process to ensure that they meet international standards.

“A formal decision on whether or not this is a record is likely to be several months away,” said Jonathan Fowler, the WMO spokesman.

Scientists at an Argentine research base measured a temperature of 18.3° C (nearly 65° F) Feb. 6 on a peninsula that juts out from Antarctica toward the southern tip of South America. Last week, researchers from Brazil claimed to have measured temperatures above 20° C on an island off the peninsula.

ANTARCTICA
Frigid Antarctica is an expanse of white ice and blue waters, as pictured in March, 2017, at the U.S. research facility McMurdo Station. NASA’s Operation IceBridge has collected annual measurements of Antarctic ice to track changes and help predict sea level rise. VOA

Fowler said both measurements would need to be transmitted to Prof. Randall Cerveny, a researcher at Arizona State University who examines reported temperature records for WMO.

Cerveny then shares the data with a wider group of scientists who “will carefully evaluate the available evidence (including comparisons to surrounding stations) and debate the merits and problems of the observation,” said Fowler.

Also Read- “India Should be Seen as An Important Player To Combat Climate Change”, Says Norway

The evaluation normally takes six to nine months, after which Cerveny would “formally either accept or reject the potential extreme,” giving official WMO approval to the new record, he said.

Climate change is causing the Arctic and the Antarctic to warm faster than other parts of the planet. (VOA)