Stakeholders meet to review Impact Tables and Climate Normals

From 23rd to 24th a two days workshop was held in Bugesera District to review draft Impact Tables and Rwanda’s Climate Normals for the period 1981 to 2010. The workshop put together participants from Government institutions and Non-government Organizations. 

Rwanda is currently faced with increased hydro-meteorological disasters which sometimes distract life and property which may lead to many people becoming homeless and damage crops as well as infrastructure is usually enormous. 

The economy which is basically based on agriculture is highly susceptible to the weather and climate that is greatly affected by changing climate. Meteo Rwanda improvised development of Impact Tables for extreme events of weather and climate that would be used as a basis for warning of rainfall, temperature and wind extremes. 

Mr. Twahirwa Anthony, the Division Manager of Weather/Climate Services and Application Division said that while developing impact tables, thresholds of rainfall categories were computed using the lower, medium and upper quartile and adjusted to reflect the three categories of impacts and likelihood of severe rainfall.

For example the rainfall below 10 mm per day was categorized as light rain. The rainfall ranging between 10 and 25 millimeters within 24 hours was categorized as moderate whereas the rainfall ranging from 25 to 40 mm per day falls within a category of heavy rainfall. The last category is very heavy rainfall which is from 40 mm and above within 24 hours. The Impact Tables used color coding to identify the rainfall severity. 

The wind thresholds have been also calculated and classified into four categories that are light, moderate, strong and very strong while temperature was classified into three categories which are low, moderate and high for both warm and cold stresses. The likely impacts of rainfall and wind thresholds have been categorized according to the climate of the region, reported impacts and historical rainfall and wind records.

In regards to climate normal, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommends National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to produce climate normals for the period 1981 to 2010 which will be updated every 10 years and serve as a baseline to assess variability and change in climate at country as well as global levels. 

Meteo Rwanda is publishing out a thirty years’ averages of climate conditions known as “climatological standard Normals” and will be updated every ten years. 

Mr. Musoni Didace the Division Manager of Data Observation, Quality Control and Processing said that various sectors will require climate normals of rainfall, temperature, mean vapour pressure, number of hours with sunshine and for other meteorological parameters, all for different applications. He added that the availed climate normals are of rainfall based on means of daily, monthly, seasonal, and annual rainfall; temperature based on means of daily; monthly and annual minimum, maximum and mean temperatures for the period 1981 to 2010.

Mrs, Sabine Uwamariya, Operational Systems Specialist at the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management said that the Impact Tables will be useful in the interpretation of the weather warnings in case of severe weather events. 

“We used to receive the weather warnings showing the expected rainfall and areas to be affected. The weather warnings accompanied with the expected impacts will be useful to for preparedness and thus mitigate risks from extreme weather events”, said Sabine.

Dr. Manirakiza Richard Lecturer and Head of department of Land Administration and Management at INES Ruhengeri said that the climate normals are very useful in academic researches and publications.  

“The climate normal shall be consulted while conducting weather and climate related researches. Not having these normals could lead to data inaccessibility and substandard research findings since they are not based on actual data from Meteo Rwanda”, said Dr. Richard. 

The Director General Mr. Aimable Gahigi thanked participants for having taken their time to review the two documents developed by Meteo Rwanda. He added that their comments shall be useful to enrich the draft documents and come up with final documents to be validated by the stakeholders and end users. 

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