Extreme weather is not limited to the US, and with our mature (and well-funded) emergency infrastructure in place, we are fortunate for the safety it provides. Unfortunately, with limited infrastructure combined with the increased frequency of severe weather, least developed countries (LDCs) in particular are still very much vulnerable to the impacts of these events.
Earth Networks, WeatherBug’s parent company, entered into a public-private partnership with the National Directorate of Meteorology of Guinea (DNM) to demonstrate our advanced forecasting and severe weather warnings in the African country of Guinea.
This Early Warning System (EWS), implemented in just weeks, is enabling real-time weather observations and forecasts, exclusive Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (DTA) and radar-like visibility to precipitation, which can then be used to assess the possibility of floods and drought.
The EWS provides real-time resolution and maximum reliability to help Guinea officials observe,inform and alert the public and other government agencies to impending dangerous weather! Here’s a breakdown of how we are providing this invaluable insight:
- Observation: Twelve lightning sensors and weather stations, interconnected via the Internet, report a wide range of weather conditions, and provide information on total lightning discharges. Sensors follow both lightning that strikes the ground (cloud-to-ground) and, most importantly, the vast majority of lightning that remains in the sky (in-cloud) and above extreme weather conditions. To maximize existing infrastructure, these sensors have been installed on mobile towers, in partnership with Cellcom. Reliability is enhanced through the public-private partnership in which Earth Networks supports the Direction Nationale de la Meteorologique by managing the backend IT infrastructure.
- Information: Total lightning data powers a proxy radar tool called PulseRadSM, a patented, algorithm-driven visualization tool that provides radar-like visibility to highlight areas threatened by heavy rain, high winds, flooding and other extreme conditions. Just 12 sensors enabled proxy radar coverage for most of Guinea and hundreds of kilometers beyond for inbound storm tracking. Additionally, real-time lightning and surface weather data gathered from the sensors is used in ENcast, a forecasting product that provides very detailed short- to long-term high-quality weather forecasts.
- Alerting: Direction Nationale de la Meteorologique can issue automated Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts (DTAs), which are based on total lightning. In the U.S., DTAs are issued automatically to millions of consumers, organizations and government agencies, providing them with the fastest warnings to oncoming severe weather. DTAs have been shown to alert 50% faster than warnings based on other technology currently available, providing 27 minutes, on average, of lead time.
“Within a few weeks, it has become possible to actively track thunderstorms, monitor precipitation and issue alerts to severe weather across the country by utilizing innovative technology and the country’s existing cell tower infrastructure,” says Dr. Mamadou Lamine BAH, Director DNM and President of Regional Association 1 (Africa) for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). “Deployment and initial maintenance of traditional radar in a country like Guinea would require upwards of 10 million U.S. dollars, which makes the new technology from Earth Networks a viable and exciting alternative for developing countries.”
The demonstration project in Guinea is modeled after public-private partnership agreements that Earth Networks has established globally with organizations such as the U.S. National Weather Service and INPE (National Institute for Space Research) in Brazil.
Stay Safe. Know Before™.
-The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team