Although TAHMO has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on its website (https://tahmo.org/faqs/), we keep receiving questions via email where people have been misinformed and need some clarification from TAHMO. We have therefore published a few of the questions in this edition of the newsletter to correct the misinformation.
YES! National Meteorological agencies get the data for free as long as the station is functioning. There is no time limit.
Data are always made available to the National Meteorological Agencies first. The Meteorological agencies have free access to the data and can use it for any purpose they deem fit.
Any researcher seeking to develop peer-reviewed publications that would benefit from the data collected can get any and all of the data for their use. They simply contact email@example.com with the description of their need or complete an online form (Data Request Form), and as long as it satisfies this basic requirement, a no-cost agreement is completed (just making sure the arrangements are clear to everyone).
The data is free for government and scientific use. A fee of about US$10/station/month or a donation is encouraged for commercial use of the data, including the development of new services. Fees depend on geographical coverage and level of exclusiveness of use within a sector while respecting the national policy on data use. TAHMO remains a not-for-profit organisation. The contributions support TAHMO to keep the stations running.
The fees are used to maintain and grow the observation network. Period! TAHMO is a not-for-profit organization, with all directors working on a voluntary basis. In addition, there are typically income and cost sharing arrangements with the National Meteorological Agencies.
Presently, we are still in the stage of business development. This cannot be done without actual data flows, which is why in these early stages we depend heavily on projects and external investments, but through 2020 we have projects and income streams that cover all operational costs, while additional services and projects will further accelerate the expansion of the network.
TAHMO always works under agreement of national or regional governments. Typically, a MoU with the National Meteorological Agency defines the modus operandi in a country. It is also possible that, in case of externally funded projects, TAHMO has agreements with other government agencies or NGOs that have agreements with the local governments.
TAHMO seeks to become a self-sustaining Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) curating an international scientific-grade continental-scale weather and climate observatory that support the National Meteorological Agencies and the global research community.
TAHMO does not seek to replace official synoptic stations, as we recognize the need to maintain long-term time series of homogeneous measurements. Densification of networks is our first goal, and only where resources fail to maintain traditional stations could TAHMO be seen as an alternative way forward to fill the current role of synoptic stations. We need to keep in mind that TAHMO is now working in countries with very few operating national (government-owned) weather stations, so the situation is rather critical at the moment.
TAHMO instruments meet or exceed all WMO standards (Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation, WMO-No. 8). A standard measurement height of 2m is maintained throughout the project, except for a few special situations, such as for measurements in densely built up areas. It is possible to install stations at 10m to meet the WMO-No. 8 standard of measuring wind at that height but as TAHMO does not seek to replace synoptic stations (see Q9), this is not standard practice.
The Meter Group station has been developed over the past years in close cooperation with TAHMO, with special attention to African conditions. It has no moving parts, which greatly reduces the maintenance burden. Through Meter Group’s social corporate responsibility program, the stations have become optimal in terms of high quality measurements and price. TAHMO recognizes that there may be better solutions for other specific problems but finds that the present generation station (ATMOS41) provides the best overall performance.
Our aim is not selling stations but to build a sustainable climate and weather observation network to support the development of Africa’s natural and human resources. We do provide stations to projects, at our costs, across Africa for teams seeking weather data. Many programs have chosen to partner with TAHMO in this way, as they get fully-maintained stations and quality controlled data at a fraction of normal commercial station costs by leveraging the TAHMO field and computational infrastructure with the support of the National Meteorological Agencies.
Absolutely! We love to have people test our curriculum, host stations, and all sorts of other exciting efforts under the TAHMO umbrella. People can find out more on how to become part of the TAHMO effort by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most TAHMO stations are located in schools (from primary to university), where a teacher “hosts” the station, and gets free access to TAHMO teaching materials and free access to the data from their station. The idea is to make science, geography, and math education a natural part of student’s lives by seeing how the weather data from their home translates into quantitative information. This supports education broadly, and moreover, climate resilience by building the knowledge of weather and climate to the next generation of people on the front lines of climate change in Africa.