Unlocking Daily Rainfall Records Held by Volunteer Weather Stations in Western Kenya
Historical daily rainfall data can play an important role in relation to the challenge of climate change and variability. The records can be used to assess climate risks associated with climate change and variability. Effective management of climate risks is vital for the agricultural sector which is the main source of food and income to many households in sub-Saharan Africa. While considerable daily rainfall records exist for many countries, the challenge has been access to the records by users of climate information and researcher who are keen to advise and manage the climate risks. This paper discusses an initiative in Western Kenya to improve the access to the daily rainfall records collected by volunteer weather stations in the region. The network of volunteer stations in the region is relatively dense with some stations having being in operation for more than 30 years. The initiative involved working with the stations to computerize their records which have been held in paper archives for a long time. A climate data management system, namely Climsoft v3.2 was used to manage the entry of the records for over 60 stations that were consolidated for the region. The lack of computerization had limited both access and use of the records in the region and beyond. The records were then validated and controlled for quality to ensure reliable and effective results are produced when the data are eventually analysed. Last but not least, the quality-controlled records were archived in data verse to allow some form of access to the records by the larger climate research community.
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