TWIGA successfully established the first low-cost GNSS network in Africa, that will be used to continuously measure the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. This information will allow improving forecasts of extreme weather events, such as cloudbursts and thunderstorms.

GPS stations deployed at fixed locations can be used to measure the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere (low-cost GPS for rain forecasts).

Water vapor is a crucial parameter to improve weather forecasts and the availability of low-cost receivers has made it possible to observe such parameter in areas where expansive geodetic GPS networks are not available.

In the last few years, low-cost GNSS stations for monitoring purposes, as well as experimental networks for meteorological applications (LAMPO network), have been deployed by GReD.

At the end of 2019, TWIGA shipped 6 low-cost GPS stations to Uganda. These were deployed in and around Kampala by Makerere University, with the support of GReD, PoliMi and TU Delft. The pictures below show some of the deployment activities.

The next step involves the shipment and deployment of 9 more TWIGA stations in Kenya. In that case, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) will collaborate with GReD and PoliMi for the selection of suitable sites and for the deployment activities.

The data collected by the two networks will fill the gap of water vapor observations in the two sub-Saharan countries.

TWIGA will experiment with the assimilation of such observations within NWP models as well as their integration Copernicus SAR images to produce high-resolution water vapor maps.

Written by Eugenio Realini