AWS TECHNOLOGY AND ITS EFFECT ON SURFACE WEATHER OBSERVATION IN KENYA Mungai Peter N. Kenya Meteorological Department. P.O.Box 30259-00100 GPO Nairobi, Kenya. Phone 254-2-3867880 Fax 254-2-3876955 http://www.meteo.go.ke e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract • In recent times there have been considerable technology advance as far as surface weather parameter measurement are concerned. • in Kenya, the use of automatic weather observing systems has rapidly taken root and is co-existing together with the traditional method of manual surface data collection. In view of this, it is important to understand the technicalities needed to integrate this new technology with an existing one. This paper will provide an overview of how the new automatic weather observing system (AWOS) technology has affected the existing manual data collection method in terms of reliability, time, and accuracy, among others
INTRODUCTION Geographical position of Kenya The republic of Kenya is situated in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean between Tanzania and Somalia. The country’s total area is approximated as 583,000 sq.km, with water covering only about 13,500 sq.Km. The country’s climate varies from tropical along the coast to arid in interior with low plains terrains rising to central highlands bisected by the Great Rift Valley.
Technology advancement. • The country has a well established network of Agro/synoptic Meteorological stations distributed all over the country. • Over the years, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has relied more on the manually collect surface data. This involves physical observation of weather parameters by an observer and then relaying the observed weather parameters to National Meteorological Centre (NMC) for further analysis and re-transmission. • Currently, most of these surface data observatories have been successfully equipped by an automatic weather observing systems (AWS) and the project is still on going for the remaining ones.
Why AWOS network? • To provide a reliable, more accurate and cost effective source of surface data observations in order to support national, regional and global basic meteorological operations and research • In support for short to medium term forecasting. This will include Severe weather forecast and warning services, Public weather forecast and warning services, Aviation weather services (enroute and terminal area forecasts), supporting airlines, air traffic control and airport operations, Marine and industrial applications, Environmental monitoring and warning applications, Climate studies, etc.
Challenges • Like any other developing countries, Kenya is faced by all sorts of challenges ranging from economical, social and political ones. The Kenya Meteorological Department, as the government department is one way or the other affected by these challenges. • The cost of procuring, installation and maintenance of AWS has curtailed the fast process of upgrading the surface observing stations. • Technical Knowledge required for installation, operation and maintenance of otherwise complex AWS has also slowed the impact of AWS. • The installation of AWS at remote areas has proved difficult due to insecurity of the instruments.
Conclusion • The process of Modernization of Meteorological observation network has provided great progress and technological advancement to Kenya. • The Kenya Meteorological Department has embarked on improving the knowledge and capacity of the technical staffs to be able to operate and maintain the AWOS Network.