Data at risk: Historic weather observations are currently in need of rescuing in many underdeveloped countries, including West Africa, before they are lost to the world forever. These include…
- rainfall records to show frequency of droughts and flooding,
- temperature and humidity records that enable health officials to understand the spread of malaria, dengue and yellow fever,
- wind and air pressure readings used to understand how our climate is changing as well as how strong to build bridges and buildings. Such records not only are critical for developing countries but for all of humanity.
Goals: IEDRO’s West Africa Climate DR&D project has multiple phases that not only address the current, urgent data rescue needs of West Africa but that also set up framework for continued data rescue, various types of digitization, education on the importance of data rescue and the future applications of rescued data.
To accomplish these goals, the purpose of Phase I of the West Africa Climate DR&D Project is to establish a facility within the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) in Niamey, Niger.
Progress: IEDRO is currently in Phase I of the West Africa Climate DR&D project. As part of Phase I, four computers have been installed, microfiche scanners have been set up and funding has been made available by funding from USAID and other organizations.
ACMAD began scanning the nearly 2,000,000 pages of historic hydrometeorological data that were imaged during the DARE-I effort that was administered by the World Meteorological Organization. This data from 48 African National Meteorological and Hydrologic Services (NMHS) was transferred to microfiche (the best available technology at the time) which is now deteriorating. ACMAD’s scanning of the microfiche images is turning the disappearing data into electronic images before they are gone forever. With IEDRO’s assistance, ACMAD will be keying the data from these images into a digital data base so that these critical data can be used by the world’s scientists, researchers and educators for the betterment of all humanity.
Status: IEDRO is currently receiving scanned data from ACMAD as per Phase I while preparing for Phase II, a series of workshops for representatives of the NMHSs where scientific applications that use these rescued and digitized data will demonstrated. IEDRO is proposing project Phases III through V that include the establishing of DR&D Sites at every NMHS in Africa, sustainability and outreach.