A “New Mobile Weather Stations”, notably made from local parts, fast delivers the rainfall forecast to the Sri Lankan farmers through text messages. It alerts them six hours ahead of excessive rain. That’s good enough for the farmers to take precaution. This device costs only $250 as opposed to $10,000 for standard mobile weather stations. And man behind the machine is Yann Chemin, a researcher of International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
The new Mobile Weather Stations are equipped with an atomic clock to give precise time and date readings, and a GPS sensor, which updates automatically if they are moved. Chemin is devising a system for connecting them to Sri Lanka’s mobile phone network to transfer the data.
Eventually, there could be hundreds of weather stations set up around the country, sending information into a central database. In the event of heavy rains, automated SMS alerts could be sent to people living in areas at risk of landslides. Similar warnings could be sent to those in charge of the country’s many irrigation reservoirs, known locally as ‘tanks’.
“It would give the tank managers advance warning to prepare for higher-than-usual flows of water into the tank system,” continues Chemin. “They could take action to release water elsewhere along the network to that the system doesn’t become overwhelmed and flood. There’s no rocket science in that; by capturing and sharing the information quickly, we’re simply giving people much more time to act.”
In some parts of north central Sri Lanka, 65 percent of crops have been destroyed in the past two years due to floods and other disasters linked to climate change, said Reuters. The information will also allow rural households to get ready to collect rain water for drinking. Several dozen Sri Lankans, including rural blacksmiths and electricians, along with urban electronic designers, have been hired to produce the weather stations, Chemin said, creating jobs while helping communities cope with climate change. Read the full story.
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