The Role Of ICTs In Quantifying The Severity And Duration Of Climatic Variations – Kenya’s Case
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For the last 2 decades, Kenya has consistently contributed the highest number of people affected by natural disasters in Africa. This is especially so for disasters triggered by climatic variations. The Kenya Meteorological Department has provided regular weather forecasts since the 60s. One of the shortcomings of this Department's approach is the fact that their forecasts provide conceptual indications of droughts/floods without giving operational indicators. This makes it difficult for key stakeholders to develop solid strategic plans. Innovative use of ICTs can turn around this situation by realigning the forecasts to aid in answering questions such like, how long and how severe the predicted climatic variations will be. Use of cheaper wireless sensors can also help readdress the current poor coverage by weather stations. Based on analysis of 31 years of historical daily precipitation data from three weather stations, we prove that the Effective Drought Index can be used to quantify droughts/floods. We also present an effective web-based system that policy makers can use to monitor droughts/floods on daily basis. In the discussion, we explain how an on-going initiative aimed at integrating wireless sensor networks and mobile phones will further improve drought monitoring.