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Beira Weather Radar: Mozambique Acquires Equipment to Detect Extreme Atmospheric Phenomena in Real Time

Beira Weather Radar: Mozambique Acquires Equipment to Detect Extreme Atmospheric Phenomena in Real Time

The Mozambican President inaugurated, this Wednesday, 19 April, in the city of Beira, the first of seven meteorological radars to be installed in the country with the aim of strengthening, modernising and extending weather information to reduce risks, caused by the effects of climate change. The previous radar was destroyed by cyclone Idai in March 2019

”This radar responds to the need to consolidate the mechanisms of preparation and response after disasters, with concrete actions for monitoring extreme events during their occurrence, issuing alerts, as well as ensuring the capture and dissemination of information in real time,” Nyusi pointed out.

The construction of the infrastructure, costing 130 million meticals, was made possible by the African Development Bank (ADB), a strategic development partner, which provided the funds as part of the IDAI post-cyclone reconstruction programme.

This radar is an important contribution to the implementation of the Executive Action Plan on Early Warning for All, launched in November 2022, by the Secretary General of the United Nations in Sharm-EL Sheik, Egypt, at the high-level session, at the summit of world leaders of the 27th session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27), of which we were part,” said the PR.

Mozambican company is the project’s technological partner

The radar will facilitate the measurement or estimation of precipitation or speed of progression of weather systems that may cause heavy rainfall, as well as the monitoring of the hydrographic basins of the Púnguè, Búzi and Zambezi rivers, thus contributing to the improvement of the early warning system in central Mozambique.

This is a device used to locate and estimate the level, type and intensity of precipitation – rain, snow or hail – as well as calculate its displacement.

In this project, TVSD is the Mozambican company responsible for implementing and installing the radar and will also be responsible for its maintenance for the next five years which shows, in the words of its CEO, Sérgio dha Costa, that the country “has the engineering and knowledge necessary to ensure the success of this initiative, from architecture, civil engineering and complementary engineering”.

The company has the partnership of the manufacturer Vaisala, Finnish company and world leader in technology of meteorological equipment, responsible for the manufacture of the radar and which provided training and technical capacity building to twenty workers of the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM) to operate with the radar and extract and interpret the information obtained by it.

The installation of this radar in Mozambique – the only one operational in the whole country – is of great importance considering that the country is affected cyclically by cyclones and extreme meteorological phenomena due to its geographical location. The equipment will enable the forecasting and behaviour of these situations so that the population can be warned in advance and the responsible bodies can organise themselves to minimise the impacts of cyclone Idai.

For Sergio Da Costa, “the entry into operation of the meteorological radar in Beira marks a turning point in the way Mozambique faces one of the main challenges of today’s world: climate change. In this sense, looking at the main needs of the country, and specifically the communities in the central area, the existence of this type of equipment is essential to ensure their safety and to minimise damage and, fundamentally, human losses, which are always regrettable. We believe that projects such as this are of crucial importance for the safety of the entire population along the Mozambican coast, from north to south.”

Monitoring in “real time”

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Meteorological radars are mainly pulse-Doppler radars with single or dual polarisation, capable of detecting the radial movement of a set of hydrometeors (mainly raindrops, ice crystals and hail) and also estimating the intensity of the precipitation associated with their fall. The obtained variables can be analysed to determine the internal structure of rain clouds (e.g. thunderstorms), as well as the associated upward, downward, converging and rotational wind currents. From this analysis their potential to cause severe weather can be determined, in a detection range of up to 300 km/h, depending on various factors.

The equipment uses an electromagnetic wave system to be able to measure distances, directions, altitudes and speeds of objects, both static and moving, capable of monitoring vehicles, aircraft, ships, etc. In this case, the waves are used to evaluate meteorological formations and have a continuous monitoring of cloud movement. Their operation is quite simple: they generate a radio pulse that is reflected on the target, being received from the same position as the emitter. Thanks to this, a set of information can be obtained on the location of clouds, their density and shape, whether they are growing or will cause some kind of precipitation.

The radar will be operated by INAM from its control centre at Beira Airport and its headquarters in Maputo city.

The official entities involved in this project are INAM, the Post Cyclone Reconstruction Office (GREPOC) and the African Development Bank, the latter responsible for financing.

The radar installation is aligned with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, in particular target 7, to substantially increase the availability of and access to Early Warning systems for various hazards and disaster risk information and assessments for the population by 2030.

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