The current deluge in Kenya is a real human tragedy, and I sympathize with many Kenyans who are furious that their official meteorological department said the rains were going to end, not continue.
I wrote a blog about it on December 11, explaining that data available from satellites which I then published as maps, suggested otherwise: that the end of December and on would be rainy.
So this untrained meteorologist (I love my remote digital indoor/outdoor weather system), did better than the Kenyan Meteorological Department!
But in deference to my colleagues, I felt I should reprint with minimum comment the remarks of Dr. Joseph Othieno which appeared in Nairobi’s Daily Nation newspaper in response to the public outcry against the government’s weather forecasting department.
Uncertainty (sic) is an uncomfortable aspect of life, but one that pushes humanity to act. To overcome it, man has sought various interventions from soothsayers, astrologers, prophets, magicians and scientists to forecast what the future holds.
And NOAA’s special African desk for weather reporting from a stationary satellite above Africa. Try this: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/african_desk/
In developed countries, extreme weather conditions are accurately predicted to the day, hour, and in magnitude.
But in developing countries, this has remained a big challenge due to a number of problems that are worsened by public ignorance….
And the weathermen are a part of the public?
Forecasting … is one of the major challenges facing meteorological services… This is worsened by ignorance, technological challenges, complex physical features and lack of appropriate data.
Like how much rain fell?
A major objective of forecasting is to unmask fate and inform the current on timely strategic interventions that will mitigate the adverse events of the predicted phenomenon, by informing policies and supporting the end user of such information to adopt accordingly.
Pursuant to meteor men proclivating outside regular business hours.
It is important for all to understand what weather forecast is all about. A forecast that doesn’t translate into light but heat is useless.
This is the reason it’s darker in winter.
An accurate forecast that induces no action is worse than an inaccurate forecast with action.
Dr. Othieno, I cannot express to you how relieved I am now regarding the future not just of Kenyan meteorological forecasting, but of the country’s destiny in toto, of its unique opportunity to shine as beacon of [hot?] light in the dreaded darkness of Third World science. Did you pass you’re a-levels? Or are you, too, planning to run for Parliament?