As climate disasters increase, Africa’s hydrometeorology infrastructure is deteriorating
By Maina Waruru
As Caribbean countries come to terms with the devastating effects of the recent hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that ravaged the region in September, experts are warning that the chronic underdevelopment of hydrometeorological technology and services in Africa is leaving the continent dangerously unprepared when it comes to climate-related disasters.
Hydrometeorology, the science and mechanism of observing weather behaviour in relation to water, is an important field of weather prediction as too much rain can cause as much harm as it absence.
As many as 54 per cent of the continent’s surface weather stations and 71 per cent of its “upper-air weather stations” (balloons released into atmosphere to capture weather data) are out-of-date and unable to capture accurate weather data, experts say.
As a result of this dilapidated infrastructure, countries are losing billions of dollars to weather and climate-related disasters, according to the World Bank, with millions of people across the continent affected annually.