Meteorological Services Update, Keremti 1998

by Meteorological Services, Asmara Int'l Airport

Country UPDATE on Meteorological activities:-

1. I will start by the Excellent Harvest of 1998. As you may already know the last Summer rains in Eritrea has resulted in a very good crop yield throughout the whole country.

Assessment of kiremti 1998 rain in brief

The on-set of the 1998 Kiremti rain was late June. This was followed by widespread and very good amount and distribution of rainfall almost all over Kiremti-rain-benefiting parts of the country. Rainfall amount was decreased during the second dekad of July. However widespread rain continued through the whole month of August over most parts of the country. As compared to the long year average most stations received much above normal rainfall during the month of August. The 1998 August rainfall is one of the best in history. Rainfall amount decreased significantly during first dekad of September. This was followed by a generally dry condition from second dekad of September on wards over most parts of the country except south western lowlands which received isolated to scattered rainfall through the whole period of September. As compared to the last year the month of October was generally dry during this year. This has resulted a conducive time of harvest for the good yields of the crops already benefited by the good Kiremti rain of 1998. As we know well during the strong El Nino episode of 1997 much above normal rain was recorded on the month of October. This October rain at the time of harvest let to spoilage in stacks of harvested cereals and reduced yields of the crops already adversely affected by the prolonged dry spell in September 1997, when the crops were at critical maturing stage.

In light of the critical Food issue in countries like Eritrea, where rain fed agriculture is dominant, our Young Meteorological Service (with its limited skilled manpower and lack of adequate facilities) has to play its role in the rehabilitation and development program of the country. One of our best job since last summer is to provide to higher decision makers (Min. of Agriculture) products of Long Range Climate Forecast that we get from ECMWF via MDD satellite receiving facility. But this ECMWF long range forecast product alone does't and can not fulfil the demand of the Agricultural activities in our country. A lot has to be done on long range weather forecasting for Agricultural purposes.

2. Recently a meeting took place in the Ministry of Transport & Communication, Asmara aiming on the Enhancement of Meteorological Services in the State of Eritrea. Participants were from different institutions, involved in Met Data collection, which include Min. of Agriculture, Min. of Energy & Mines, Min. of Environment, lands & Water resources, Min. of Fisheries, Min. of Transport & Communication etc. The main objective of the meeting was to discuss on Current activities and Constraints of Meteorological Services in Eritrea. To mention some of the agenda's of the meeting were

- assess the distribution of meteorological facilities existing in the country.
- assess the distribution of meteorological trained man-power in the country.
- assess standardized specifications of instruments, methods of installation and system of observations.
- recommend possible National Data Bank
- explore the possibility of developing co-operation programmes on the issue of Meteorological Services with different Ministries.
- recommend immediate and long term plan to establishing Centralized National Meteorological Services.

and finally the meeting come up with some recommendations which will help cater the existing discrepancies in the field of Meteorology. I will let you know the recommended action drawn by all participants (probably next mail).

However, the overall/finally result of the issue is in progress.

Sincerely Yours
Mengsteab H.giorgis
Asmara Int'l Airport-Met Services

Last update by rvb November 30, 1998.