REVEALED; Kenya Metrological Department using analog technology for weather reporting
The Kenya Metrological Department (KMD) relies on an old manual system for weather reporting despite procuring modern digital technology devices that were lying idle, a new audit has revealed.
Auditor General Nancy Gatungu says in her latest audit of the weatherman’s books that the management should consider overhauling the existing manual technology system and replacing it with digital technology so as to enhance the reliability and effectiveness of the processes of monitoring, capturing and timely dissemination of weather forecasts to stakeholders.
“The audit revealed that the department has not fully installed modern digital equipment and technology and relies on old manual systems for weather reporting.”
The audit shows that the ministry of Environment and Forestry procured the digital weather instruments in April 2021 but were still in the store as at November, seven months after delivery.
The weather apparatus were delivered without uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices which must be installed alongside the equipment.
Ms Gathungu says the ministry contracted a firm to supply, deliver, test and commission digital weather instruments which comprised 60 digital barometers, thermometers and humidity sensors, 60 digital weather monitoring and display processing system and three rugged laptops all at a total cost of Sh47 million.
“However, physical verification performed in the month of November 2021 revealed that equipment delivered in April 2021 was still in the store, seven months after delivery,” Ms Gathungu said in a report on the audit of the ministry of Environment books of accounts for the year to June 2021.
“Information available indicates that the delay is due to lack of power UPS which must be installed alongside the equipment.”
It was not clearly explained why the procurement omitted such an essential component for the installation, Ms Gathungu said.
She said an audit inspection at the department revealed that the automatic rain gauge and sunshine recorder were not functional at the Dagoretti Corner Station.
“It was not clear how the department captures data for the affected parameters for the station’s reporting area,” she said
The audit findings could explain the inconsistencies in weather prediction by the department which in February announced that the country will receive adequate rains ahead of the main planting season in March.
The department had announced the March-April-May (MAM) long rains seasons, which were forecasted to start in the third or fourth week of March will be adequate for the entire planting season.
However, the KMD director Stella Aura, revised the weather forecast warning the distribution for the remainder of the long rain season will be generally poor.
Long rains normally run from March-May and it is the most important period in the farming calendar in Kenya.