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Opinions of Monday, 24 March 2014

Columnist: Anim-Mensah, Alexander

Meteorological Dept unable to accurately forecast the weather

The downpour of rain on the 6th March, during the Independence Day presidential parade revealed some ineptness in the Ghanaian weather forecast personnel and inefficiencies in their systems. The ineptness is not limited to the Ghanaian weather forecasting but is the commonest situation among many Ghanaian public institutions.

Quoting an article on Ghanaweb on the March 7, 2014 entitled “Independence Day rain was predicted – Meteo” the president asked Meteo to sharpen their skills, the article further pointed out that Meteo predicted the weather and communicated to NADMO. This then begs the following question: If the Meteo did as said, then how and why did the president got wet? Was the prediction not communicated on time? Is NADMO the only body supposed to receive weather forecast? Everyone in Ghana needs the forecast days before the occurrence day for planning. And the means of communications could be through the TV and through the numerous FM stations. Moreover, cell phones are very common nowadays and there are countless communication media as well as the Ministry of Communications. Thus the weather condition should have been known some days before March 6 and details fine-tuned closer to the day. March 7, 2014 article appears to be in response to March 6, 2014 article “Meteo Agency replies President Mahama, Ghanaweb”. This March 6, 2014 article pointed out that Meteo has the skilled workers but the reasons for late forecasting were due to lack of resources, logistics and lack of workers’ motivation at the agency. And for that reason the agency has been forecasting for the past 2-3 months without the surveillance radar but using local observations to read the weather for the benefit of the aviation industry, farmers, fishermen and other clients. Note that the weather pattern has changed significantly such that a more sophisticated radar will be required for today’s weather; If the observation methods were very accurate then why the invention of surveillance radars?
March 23, 2011 article presents the expectation of a new surveillance radar “Ghana to get New Weather Surveillance Radar, March 23, 2011 Ghanaweb”; I believe this article was in response to a request made on July 7, 2009 article on Ghanaweb expressing the need of radar for specific weather forecast “Meteorological Agency lacks radar for specific weather forecast”. In March 23, 2011 articles and I quote “Mr Iddrisu said procurement of the equipment was part of government's commitment to support the agency by providing state-of-the-art equipment to help in their effort to provide essential weather data and information especially to vessels that would be operating around the Jubilee oil fields. The radar equipment would also provide up-to-date and reliable weather information to support safe operation of aircraft, early warning on weather related hazards for disaster prevention, increase in agricultural production and food security and efficient management of water resources for sustainable electricity generation”.
The above information shows that only part of the equation was met i.e. acquisition of the radar but not operation of equipment which includes resources, logistics, skilled workers, and motivation, to name a few.
We all already know the importance of meteo station which includes provision of weather conditions among others to plan activities, to cautions to take necessary precaution for any adverse or knowledge of unwanted weather occurrence. Even with the radars functioning as expected is only providing a forecast which it may either predict accurately or not or either the predicted occurrences may happen or not, however, it is very important to know the weather to be prepared for any activity or take cover.
Unpreparedness to weather occurrences could be fatal. In the light of this changing weather pattern situation, the requirements of sophisticated weather forecasting instruments will be necessary left alone predicting without radars. Note that; several industrial operations heavily rely on the weather; hence regular unreliable forecast might disrupt some activities and include the local airline industry. We should all note that the local airline industry among others has gradually gained grounds; providing jobs, assisting the economy grow and providing Ghanaians prompt presence to activities around the nation while saving time.
My questions are; do we have lasting structures or solutions in place to support the colossal projects we are proposing or dreaming off? Will we be able to sustain reliably and steadily after acquisition or putting them in place? Kwame Nkrumah built several silos around the nation both completed and uncompleted and hence we used them to our advantage? We have extensive arable lands and silos and still importing food. What should be the consequence? Non-functional or functional gathering- dust equipment is like not having at all. Are we interested in the numerous titles we make for ourselves or the responsibilities of the titles to actual affect lives? How much sacrifice are we making for the nation? Do we really care about the nation and others? How are we using our resources to better ourselves or are we still waiting for some divine hands? Is partisan the solution to our problems as well as uniting Ghana? Are we taught patriotism from birth? Is patriotism eroded in Ghana? What are our leaders telling us? Train up a child….Proverb 22:6. Let us look at the big picture, the interconnections, quantify the possible “pros and cons” and provide the necessary support to the meteo stations appropriately if we so want Ghana to grow. Let take our responsibilities seriously to the benefit of Ghana and its citizens.
God bless
Alexander Anim-Mensah, PhD
Dayton, Ohio

• Independence Day rain was predicted – Meteo , 7th March 2014 Ghanaweb
• Meteo Agency replies President Mahama, 6th March 2014 Ghanaweb
• Ghana to get new Weather Surveillance Radar, 23rd March 2011 Ghanaweb
• Meteorological Agency lacks radar for specific weather forecast, Ghanaweb 7th July,2009 Ghanaweb