WMO should highlight the safety, well-being of society

19Mar 2020
The Guardian
WMO should highlight the safety, well-being of society

The date of the establishment of the World Meteorological Organisation in 23 March 1950 has been named World Meteorological Day. This organisation announces a slogan for World Meteorology Day every year, and this day is celebrated in all member countries.

World Meteorological Day is celebrated every year on 23 March to commemorate the entry into force in 1950 of the convention that created the World Meteorological Organisation. The day also highlights the contribution that national meteorological and hydrological services make to the safety and well-being of society. Many different activities and events are organised for this occasion.

World Meteorological Day often features various events such as conferences, symposia and exhibitions for meteorological professionals, community leaders and the general public. Some events aim to attract media attention to raise meteorology's profile. Many prizes for meteorological research are presented or announced on or close to World Meteorological Day.

Many countries issue postage stamps or special postage stamp cancellation marks to celebrate World Meteorological Day. These stamps often reflect the event's theme or mark a country's meteorology achievements.

We have many global meteorological agencies and Tanzania is no exception. The Meteorological Agency (TMA) is the government organisation that has been given the mandate as the National Meteorological Authority which is entrusted with the task of provision of weather and climate and regulations of weather and climate services in Tanzania. Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) was established in 1999 by the Parliamentary Executive Agencies Act No 30 of 1997, (Cap.245 R.E. 2002). Its predecessor the Directorate of Meteorology (DoM) was established by the Parliamentary Act No. 6 of 1978, as a specialised department for provision of meteorological services in Tanzania. Before then, meteorological services were provided in Eastern African countries (Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya) by the East African Meteorological Department (EAMD) under the former East African Community. Observations of meteorological data in Tanzania first began along the coast. The first weather observations were made at the Zanzibar stone town in October 1886 and later extended to the mainland with the rainfall observing stations being Bagamoyo, Tanga, Amani and Bukoba. By1929 meteorological services had became fully operational in Tanzania under the British Meteorological Services. Today observed meteorological parameters are rainfall, maximum, minimum, dry bulb, dew point,wet bulb temperatures, cistern level pressure, relative humidity, vapor pressure, cloud cover, evaporation, radiation, sunshine hours, wind run, wind speed, wind direction, fog, thunder, hail, mean sea level, visibility and evaporation. A network of more than 2000 rainfall stations exists in Tanzania where large percentage of its historical climate data are still in paper form and at greater risk of being lost as the paper is deteriorating very fast. Only about 30 per cent of the historical data has been digitised mostly rainfall and temperature.

Tanzania Meteorological Agency has accumulated a large amount of paper records with a few estimated to be 100 years, while some of them have started wearing out at dramatic rates posing a threat of losing these valuable historical climatic data. Thus, TMA is facing a very big challenge of efficiently manage its data and storage.

The Agency has been managing its data using a CLICOM data management system before migrating to the current CLIDATA data management system as one of the data management system recommended by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).TMA has been making efforts to rescue the perishing data after realizing a remarkable deterioration of its paper-based documents and often stored under poor conditions through government and donor organisations funds.