Guadalcanal Province gets automated weather station and rain gauge

30 May 2014

imageThe completed Avuavu automatic weather station. Photo: Charles Kereau/UNDP

(Honiara, Solomon Islands) – The installation of an automated weather station and rain gauge in the villages of Avuavu and Marau Sound in the Guadalcanal Province will assist in gathering more accurate data on the unpredictable weather patterns in the provinces.

The installations were the first under the Strogem Woaka Lo Community Fo Kaikai (SWoCK) project. A total of four automatic weather stations and 12 rain gauges will be installed this year as part of the project in Makira-Ulawa, Isabel, Choiseul, Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces. Data collected will include rainfall, wind direction and speed, under and above ground temperatures and other relevant information, and will be shared with various stakeholders including the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services.

SWoCK project consultant, Commins Vaike said that the equipment were installed in strategic locations that experience heavy rainfall and strong winds. 

“Data collected will be very useful in national planning. Understanding climate change and changing weather patterns can make a lot of difference in the infrastructure development,” said Mr Vaike.

The unpredictable weather patterns exacerbated by climate change are also making it difficult for people to plant crops that are resilient to changing weather patterns.

“With these instruments, the data collected from will also help agriculture officers and farmers to plant crops suitable for each season,” said Mr Vaike. “If you plant potatoes during rainy periods, you will probably have healthy potato vines and leaves but little tuber…people must know when to plant certain crops to get the best yields.”

Local farmer in Avuavu, South Guadalcanal, Victor Kikiti said a lot of farmers have seen the changes in crop yields including frequent attacks by crop pests and diseases.

“Farmers in our area plant crops during certain months of the year, as they used to do many years ago…to their surprise the yields have been very poor and a lot of our crops were destroyed by crop pests and diseases,” said Mr Kikiti.

The SWoCK project is funded from the Kyoto Adaptation Fund, with US$5.5 million for the period of 2011-2015, implemented through the United Nations Development Programme and executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology of the Solomon Islands. Besides the introduction of climate resilient crop varieties and enhanced farming systems, the project supports a range of other practical adaptation measures, such as climate-resilient land-use planning, climate early-warning and information system, germ plasm collection and agriculture food banks, national assessment of soil types and their vulnerability to degradation, enhanced food processing and storage techniques, amongst others.

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