Key upper air sounding facility launched in Uganda

Mar 25, 2015

Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister for Water and Environment releasing an air balloon into the air as he launches the upper air sounding facility in Entebbe, besides him on the immediate right is Mr. Onesimus Muhwezi, the UNDP Energy and Environment Team Leader.

Entebbe - As part of efforts to improve the quality of weather data that is generated from weather stations, a newly renovated upper air sounding facility in Entebbe has been launched after one year of interrupted service.

The upper air sounding is a unique facility where real time wind, temperature and humidity profiles are captured using balloon and radiosondes that communicate with the base station. This captured data is useful for prediction and control of landing locations at the airport.

“With the launch of this facility, it is expected that the upper air parameters will improve the quality of weather data that is generated from the weather stations and improve the confidence of the public in the weather forecasts,” Professor Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Water and Environment said while launching the facility as part of celebrations to mark both the World Meteorological Day and World Water Day on 23rd March, 2015 in Entebbe.

The Government of Uganda renovated the facilities for upper air sounding, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) donated a stock of 366 balloons with radiosondes, 177 new thermometers for all the weather stations across the country. These were handed over to the Ministry of Water and Environment’s Uganda National Meteorological Authority in order to enhance the collection of weather data from the atmosphere.

Handing over the items on behalf of UNDP, Mr. Onesimus Muhwezi, the Team Leader for Energy and Environment who represented the Country Director, said that UNDP is glad to be a part of the Government’s efforts to ensure climate resilience and sustainable environment management through proper collection of weather data.

He said that UNDP through the Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning Systems (SCIEWS) Project, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will continue to support the Government of Uganda in improving their weather and climate monitoring systems.

“We hope that through this partnership, we are able to increase both the short-term and long-term weather prediction accuracy which will in turn assist both the Government and the population to plan better for sectors like agriculture and also for issues of disaster preparedness,” Mr. Muhwezi added.

Over the next four years, this US$4m project will refurbish existing infrastructures including various meteorological and hydrological stations throughout the country, many of which have become obsolete. This will include refurbishment, equipping and establishment of; 25 Automatic Weather Stations, 16 Automatic Water Level Stations, and 366 upper air balloons with the radiosondes, thermometers and barometers among other input.

In addition 40 manual hydrological stations and 32 manual weather stations will be repaired within the next one year, as well as all the systems upgrade for optimum connectivity and data transfers, that will be upgraded to match the current digital land-scape in the East African region.

It is anticipated that these investments in the meteorology sector from various development partners including UNDP/GEF in partnership with the Government will be key in capturing the required weather and climate data which can be used to plan better for various economic sectors.

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