Clutching at straws of climate data

Rebuilding colonial-era networks of meteorological stations is a consistent refrain of climate adaptation plans in Africa. The decline of this infrastructure over the last 20-30 years leaves a hole in the record just where it is most needed.

Even the most sophisticated climate change models depend for their credibility on testing predictions against historic data.

A 2011 baseline report for developing a national strategy on climate change in Rwanda tells us that at one time “over 100 stations provided regular meteorological observations.” For most of the last two decades, only one station has generated any data.

The consequence is that climate models will provide little useful input to the national strategy. Rwanda is an extreme example due to the genocide but reminds us of the difficulty of making objective statements about climate change that has already happened in Africa.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK