Uganda to acquire super-accurate weather forecasting supercomputer

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By Moses Kaketo

In recent years, Uganda has had landslides, floods, and a Biblical plague of locusts that left farmers counting huge losses. The locusts came after sporadic drought and rain, Uganda government was caught unaware.

Who knows what is going to happen in the next three seasons?”

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Atmo says artificial intelligence programs are the answer.

The good news is that the Ministry of Water and Environment has plans to unveil a weather forecasting supercomputer custom-built for the Uganda National Meteorological Authority by Atmo, a California tech company.

According to Government and company representatives, the new meteorology system will use AI to give Uganda a weather forecast that may be twice as accurate and ten times more detailed, the most advanced in Africa.

The new meteorology system uses artificial intelligence to precisely predict weather for each neighborhood in the nation, a first in Africa.

The technology will be able to produce more detailed models and improve local forecasting using high-resolution simulations.

Major benefits are expected from the weather supercomputer, including higher crop yields for farmers, better routes for truck drivers and pilots, and enhanced weather maps for the country’s emergency responders and soldiers.

“This powerful supercomputer sets the stage for the next five years of meteorological development in Uganda”, said Stephen Kaboyo, the country director for Atmo in Uganda. “Uganda will use this tool along with our other investments to become one of the leading forecasters in East Africa.”
The Atmo was picked partly because its device was way, way cheaper than alternatives
The partnership with Atmo, Inc. is a coup for the Ministry, as the company previously offered its AI-based forecasting systems only in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Beyond the supercomputer itself, Atmo will deliver the machine pre-loaded with a meteorology operating system that uses AI algorithms to automatically correct the forecast based on upon real-world observations.

The system, which is being installed in phases, is currently predicting precipitation cycles for the country. In the first two tests of the system, Atmo outperformed Uganda’s traditional weather modeling technology – accurately predicting precipitation when the legacy system did not.

Atmo reports that its early tests have doubled the accuracy scores of baseline forecasts in Southeast Asia

“AI for weather and climate is experiencing exceptional advances, and now reaching the maturity to come to national meteorological services,” said Dr. Pierre Pinson, Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Forecasting. “As an important milestone in the use of AI meteorology, the Atmo Uganda project is the biggest example of AI meteorology yet in Africa, and I expect this trend to continue for years to come.”

Uganda currently has more than 100 weather stations and three forecasting radars across the country
Supercomputers are being increasingly used worldwide for accurate weather and climate-change forecasting. Fujitsu Laboratories in Japan used the world’s most powerful supercomputer, Fugako in order to develop an AI model for predicting Tsunami flooding.
Meanwhile, in the US, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise has also been developing a supercomputer
The possibility of accurate weather prediction increases ten fold with AI as it computes a lot of data to detect patterns that help with nowcasting and future casting. Research has indicated that artificial intelligence can deliver forecasts that are on par with those of conventional models with a lower level of computing

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