Deale, Maryland – In early 2009, Namibia experienced its worst flooding in four decades. 276,000 people, or approximately one in seven Namibians, were forced to leave their homes due to the floods, which washed out roads, destroyed cropland and hospitals, and caused the incidence of cholera and malaria to spike. A better understanding of weather and climate trends in Namibia, made possible by preserving historical weather data, may help reduce the impact of such disasters in the future.
The United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has asked the International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO) to set up a new climate data rescue site in Namibia, and is generously funding the site’s initial start-up costs. To this end, IEDRO’s Africa Programs Manager, Martin Munkondya, is scheduled to visit the new site in December. He will help Namibia’s national meteorological service collect, sort, and inventory their available climate data.
IEDRO will work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) to process the data. If the data is new to the NCDC, Martin will lead a team to Namibia to formally set up the new site and provide Namibia’s national meteorological service with the tools and training necessary to image and send the data to IEDRO and the NCDC for digitalization and preservation. IEDRO believes its efforts will allow the Namibian government and the Namibian people to better prepare for future nature disasters.
The International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO) is a US-based, 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that rescues and digitizes historic weather observations throughout the world. Our efforts are supported and endorsed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the World Meteorological Organization and other international groups concerned with the preservation and digitization of this valuable data.
Only with accurate information about the past can we make the necessary preparations for the future. With historic weather data we can conduct climate change and global warming research; forecast the spread of disease; and improve flood forecasting. Rescuing historic environmental data can do more to prevent human suffering and death than any other endeavor in the 21st century.