—Newsletter May 2016

Grant to expand research in computational science

osu imageWith a $10 million, 5-year grant from the US National Science Foundation, TAHMO researchers Tom Dietterich and John Selker at Oregon State University are partnering with 11 other universities and organizations to expand computer science research on projects that impact sustainability.  Dietterich and Selker will work on sensor placement for TAHMO, collaborating with the ETH in Zurich. The grant will support on graduate student for the 5-yr duration to focus on TAHMO station placement.  For more news on this grant, see the topic on the Oregon State University website or on the Gazette Times.



TAHMO school2schoolwebsite online

s2s imageThe platform to connect sister schools and to view the TAHMO weather data is now online! All the schools that are connected with a TAHMO weather station can now view their historic data. This data can be compared with the weather predictions from openweathermap. The data on the website is on hourly basis and cannot be downloaded. TAHMO schools will get an account so they can download more detailed data which includes data every 5 minutes. Interested to take a look? Please visit our TAHMO School2school website on school2school.net



Elizabeth Jachens joins the TAHMO team!

Liz imElizabeth completed her undergraduate in Civil Engineering at California State University, Chico. As an undergraduate, Elizabeth’s research consisted of designing wastewater management plans for developing regions in Latin America. Currently, Elizabeth is a Master’s student in Water Resources Engineering at Oregon State University under advisement from John Selker. Her thesis is looking at recession flows for small watersheds in the Western and High Cascade mountain ranges in Oregon. Elizabeth is serving as the USA School 2 School coordinator for TAHMO. She helped lead a teacher’s training in Kenya, and it working on developing supplemental materials for teachers to utilize their weather data in classroom lesson plans and homework assignments.



Frank Ohene Annor as CEO of TAHMO

Frank CEOThe number of projects and countries in which TAHMO is involved is increasing rapidly. Until recently, TAHMO had been able to build most of its program with the help of part-time contributors and volunteers. With the departure of Zach Dunn as Field Director East Africa in December 2015, the TAHMO board decided to appoint a full-time CEO to run our projects. Frank Ohene Annor agreed to serve as first CEO of TAHMO. Frank is (almost) finished with his PhD studies at Delft University of Technologies, with his thesis on monitoring of small reservoirs in Ghana and Burkina Faso. He has a lot of field experience in the African context and has taught around the world as “teacher of teachers”. During the first months as CEO, he has travelled extensively to tighten cooperation with national meteorological departments and to move projects forward.



Improving and running the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model Using TAHMO Observations

NAM_500_MBAccurate weather information (forecast) is crucial to make decision in key economic sectors of the West Africa, such as fishing, disaster management (e.g. weather-related mudslides and floods), agriculture, energy provision, water resources, construction, public health, etc.. However, the lack of accurate observations (poor data) in West Africa is a big challenge for the accuracy of the weather forecasting models in both global and regional models. To address this issue, an operational Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model (Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model) for the region of choice is being to be improved. The WRF model (see http://www.wrf-model.org/index.php) alongside the high-resolution (one station in every 30 km), high precision and timely meteorological observations prepared by the network of the Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO, see www.tahmo.org) stations improves the accuracy and reliability of the forecasts. Using the more accurate initial conditions or current weather (atmosphere) condition, improve the capabilities of WRF model to predict the future weather. TAHMO increases the quantity as well as the quality of the surface (ground-based) observations where they can be used to improve the accuracy of the initial conditions in the WRF model.

The output from WRF model will convert into information by using the weather information dissemination system (techniques) to provide user-specific weather information for different clients and stakeholders on various time scales. In addition, improving the predictability of the weather in this region by using WRF model will strengthen the research capacity in atmosphere studies, weather prediction and the climate change adaptations in this region.



Bioversity Collaboration

Bioversity internationalWhat is the best way to get reliable weather data for your project?  Bring in TAHMO!  Bioversity is having TAHMO provide their weather stations for work in Central America (1 station in Costa Rica and 8 stations in Guatemala) and 8 stations in Mali.  Co-Director John Selker TAHMO will conduct training in Costa Rica in April, and TAHMO Engineer Gilbert Mwangi will head to Mali to assist in these installations.  By working with TAHMO Bioversity gets the technical support of TAHMO to make sure they have reliable data streams, gets the data they need, and also adds to the legacy of a continuing data stream that lasts far beyond the timeframe of their project. More information on http://www.bioversityinternational.org.
Feature story on TAHMO in OSU’s Research Journal: http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2016/02/forecast-for-africa/.  OSU has once again shown deep commitment to TAHMO with a comprehensive discussion of the connection of TAHMO to the educational and humanitarian goals of the university.
We are delighted to introduce the newest graduate student focused on TAHMO.  Top-flight engineering student Simon Kahsai, from Eritrea, is focusing on data quality control, while his MS thesis on climate-infomed  design of urban green infrastructure for African cities.