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Top 200 scientists set to meet in Kenya on space science

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More than 200 scientists from across the world are set to attend a three-day international conference on space science in Nairobi next week, organizers said on Wednesday.

The Sept. 27-29 conference, organized by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), is expected to offer opportunity for countries in fast tracking decision making in their application of earth observation and geo-spatial technologies in developing their decision making policy briefs.

“The conference will provide a platform for science and policy deliberations in various services offered by geospatial domain,” RCMRD Director General Emmanuel Nkurunziza said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Nkurunziza said the scientists will make recommendations on how to help farmers who face problem of invasive species affecting fragile ecosystems and those losing tea crop due to frequent frost occurrences as well as others affected by frequent floods.

He said that the discipline could help many people who are currently struggling to empower themselves economically and socially in the face of a changing climate, especially in the drought-ravaged horn of Africa where lack of water and pasture precipitates conflicts and loss of lives.

“Since the use of earth observation information is currently gaining acceptance globally in addressing problems that impact livelihoods, we intend to explore the possibility of prioritizing space science to help spur growth in Africa,” he added.

RCMRD was established under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to help promote sustainable development in the member States through generation, application, and dissemination of geo-information and allied ICT technologies, products, and services.

Botswana, Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe are members of the organization.



Global weather firm to boost Kenya’s fight against climate change

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Global weather observation systems company Vaisala on Wednesday said it will partner with Kenya in order to boost the fight against climate change.

Vaisala CEO Kjell Forsen told a media briefing in Nairobi that it will collaborate with the meteorological department to collect and monitor the changing weather conditions.

“We will deliver high quality weather measuring systems that will be used to gather accurate data required in combating the climate change phenomenon,” Forsen said during a ceremony to open its permanent office in Nairobi, which will serve as a hub for eastern and southern Africa.

The new African hub will offer expanded environment and weather services, including air quality measurement instruments and services in the region.

Forsen said that Africa is home to some of the fastest growing economies in the world. “The continent has growing demand for high quality weather measuring systems,” he added. Vaisala will use the Radiosonde, which is a balloon-borne instrument to transmit weather data using radio.

Radiosonde measures rainfall, humidity, visibility and environmental pressures up to 30 km into the atmosphere.

Forsen noted that climate change is a growing threat to socio-economic development in Kenya and the rest of the African continent.

“While most African nations have already invested in weather observation equipment, they need to continually update their systems in order to enhance their weather forecasting capability,” he said.

Since 1980, Vaisala has provided weather observation systems to aviation authorities in Africa. Forsen said that it has so far, equipped Kenya’s major airports with the latest weather observation systems.



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