Kenya maps first ‘Climate Atlas’ to battle future food losses

Turkana women carry canisters to get water from a borehole near Baragoy, Kenya February 14, 2017. PHOTO | REUTERS
Turkana women carry canisters to get water from a borehole near Baragoy, Kenya February 14, 2017. PHOTO | REUTERS

Kenya will launch its first localised weather modeling system early next year. Developers say the system will provide key data on how climate change impacts crop production across the east African nation in the decades to come.

Developed by researchers at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, the Climate Atlas will provide projections on rainfall and temperature patterns across Kenya’s 47 counties from the year 2050 to 2100.

John Wesonga, lead developer of the web-based platform, said there were countless global climate modelling systems available, but none provided localised data for Kenya over a long period.

“The Climate Atlas will provide us with future scenarios of what the weather patterns will be like at a county-level in Kenya,” Wesonga told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We are looking for data such as in which locations will we see the highest and lowest temperatures and rainfall, how high and low will the temperatures and rainfall likely to be, what time of year they will happen, and how long they will last.”

Based on those projections, policymakers, researchers, businesses and farmers will able to shift to interventions from using more resilient crop varieties to improving drainage during drought and floods respectively.