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  • Scientists turn to tech to prevent second wave of locusts in east Africa
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Scientists turn to tech to prevent second wave of locusts in east Africa

Source(s):  Guardian, the (UK)

By Karen McVeigh

Scientists monitoring the movements of the worst locust outbreak in Kenya in 70 years are hopeful that a new tracking programme they will be able to prevent a second surge of the crop-ravaging insects.

[...]

Kenneth Mwangi, a satellite information scientist, based at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development climate prediction and applications centre, based in Nairobi, said researchers were running a supercomputer model to predict breeding areas that may have been missed by ground monitoring. These areas could become sources of new swarms if not sprayed.

[...]

So far, the supercomputer, funded by £35m of UK aid as part of its Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa programme, has successfully forecast the movement of locusts using data such as wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. The model has achieved 90% accuracy in forecasting the future locations of the swarms, Mwangi said.

[...]

Laura Paterson, the coordination officer for the UN World Meteorological Organization in New York, said: “We have been receiving the model output showing where the locusts are expected to spread. This type of prediction analysis means the UN is on the front foot to know what’s coming, and the UN system on the ground is able to deal with it.”



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  • Publication date 04 Mar 2020

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