The use of computing systems is very crucial in the field of meteorology. Some of the first supercomputers were built solely to advance the field meteorology, specifically weather forecasting, due to huge sizes of datasets used coupled with the computing power required to work on that data. In the recent years, climate modeling and climate change have become major consumers of computing power in the field.
Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) employs some ICT facilities for various activities.
With the ever-increasing demand for information and data from public and private sectors, LMS has put in place a website (accessible at www.lesmet.org.ls) as one of the means of responding to this request, which functions to provide the general community with information on the following:
- daily, weekly and seasonal weather forecasts
- climate of Lesotho
- climate change activities, initiatives, projects and programmes in Lesotho
- data requests and access by the public; and
- operations of LMS
Satellite technology has played an immense role to the general public in recent years. The public now enjoys benefits of space technology. LMS deploys satellite technologies for use in the following;
- weather forecasting, where the accuracy and precision of weather forecast has increased due to advances in space technology
- monitoring of vegetation throughout the year, and in particular during the cropping season (October to April) in order to predict and estimate the yields at the end of the season
- disaster risk reduction to warn the public and authorities ahead of impeding disasters such as wind storms
In an effort to tackle the challenge of climate change, LMS has acquired a High Performance Computing (HPC) system for use in its operations. The primary use of the system is to archive large amounts of data required and used in the field of climate change. Data stored on the system is accessible to the online community and to stakeholders connected directly to the system, such DMA and Department of Health. Information and data can be accessed through this link.
The secondary function is to provide adequate computing power to do climate modeling. Climate modeling and downscaling of climate change scenarios require huge capacity for computing, supercomputers are the only available tool for meteorologists around the world to tackle this problem, in order to do it in a timely fashion.
In developing countries, the cost of internet access is too burdensome to allow any sustainable use in research collaboration and other activities. This poses a great challenge for scientists and researchers willing to collaborate and share data and information across geographically distinct places. Connecting computers wirelessly is one such solution to this problem. LMS has undertaken a task of connecting stakeholders working in climate change together for sharing data.
It is impossible for a weather, climate and climate change organization to function without the use of some Geographic Information System (GIS). LMS uses a few of these ISs to carry out its routine operations, such as producing maps showing rainfall and temperature distribution at any given time.
General support facilities that LMS undertakes are:
- maintaining a virus-free environment
- troubleshooting and repairing the hardware routinely
- maintaining up-to-date software packages; and
- internet access