Ethiopia’s National Meteorology Agency has launched a new online climate service based on 30 years of rainfall and temperature data for the entire country, which can be accessed at the click of a button. This is unprecedented in terms of scale and accessibility anywhere in Africa. In the latest issue of the WMO Bulletin, IRI scientists who worked on the project say that the Ethiopian experience is a template for providing customizable data for agriculture, water, health and other sectors across the continent.
“It used to be that in order to get data for a given place, you’d have to submit a written request to the NMA and then pay according to how much you needed. The process would take at least three days,” says IRI’s Tufa Dinku, who used to work at the agency. “Now it takes three seconds.”
The project was funded by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and in large part by Google.org, the philanthropic arm of the technology company, which has been interested in improving the prediction and prevention of infectious-disease outbreaks in East Africa.
Get more details at on the IRI web site.
Photo: Michael Norton/IRI.
The páramo is a high mountain ecosystem in South America’s Andes rich with biodiversity and an important source of water for millions of people. It’s at risk of becoming drier because of changing climate conditions. IRI’s latest slideshow documents the efforts of Daniel Ruiz Carrascal and an international team of researchers who have been measuring how the environment of the páramo is changing over time.
I had a grand time working on this because it involved some of my favorite people. Daniel has a sick collection of photos and videos from his research sites- at last count, more than 5,000. For those of you out there who make audio slideshows, you’ll know this was a true treasure trove to play with. We knew from the beginning we wanted to have versions in English and Spanish. I decided to have Daniel narrate the Spanish version in the first person, and for the English one, we did it in the third person, conscripting Cathy V, the coordinator for IRI’s Latin America program, as debut narrator. The videos turned out as well as they did because of Jason’s skillful production and editing!
Check it out in English:
Or en español:
The full transcripts are here:
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This week’s IRI feature…
Earlier this year, an epidemic of meningococcal meningitis swept through the African country of Burkina Faso, infecting 19,000 people and killing more than 1,000 in just three months. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid that surrounds a person’s brain and spinal cord. The disease is one of the most feared in Africa because it infects quickly and kills at a high rate. Those it doesn’t kill often suffer brain damage or deafness. The incidence and onset of the disease in Africa has long been associated with a dry, dusty wind known as the harmattan that blows off the Sahara.
IRI scientists are trying to develop climate models to predict meningitis outbreaks so that health workers can target the timing of immunizations and other interventions more appropriately. Read more about that here.Filed under IRI related | Comment (0)