Transforming Weather Water data into value-added Information services for sustainable Growth in Africa: in a word, TWIGA. The project, which through GReD involves the GeoGuard system, will have a duration of 4 years (2019-2023) and is financed by Horizon2020.
In Africa, rain forecasts suffer from lack of data: TWIGA researchers will develop a system that uses satellite images, combined with ground measurements, to obtain useful data to be provided to meteorological agencies.
Both satellites and ground-based instruments – specifically the GeoGuard stations – use electromagnetic waves that propagate in the atmosphere: the presence of water vapor along their route influences their propagation speed. High values and rapid variations of water vapor are often warning signs of heavy rains coming.
Therefore, using GeoGuard as a meteorological detection system, more information on the atmosphere and water can be provided in sub-Saharan Africa. The collected geodata will be used to develop information services able to respond to the needs of the interested African parties and of the GEOSS community.
GeoGuard is a service that is part of Softeco’s offer of solutions for Green Enterprise and Cities: it has a dual functionality – geodetic and environmental monitoring – and its application within the TWIGA project confirms a great versatility of use that allows it to be efficiently employed in different areas.
GeoGuard’s contribution in this project is similar to that of the LAMPO project: providing a monitoring service for the quantity of water vapor present in the lower layers of the atmosphere through its measuring stations.
The sectors in which TWIGA brings its contribution
The data and information that TWIGA is able to provide are of high interest for different recipients.
Farmers are the first to benefit because the meteorological forecasts that follow are fundamental for planning operations such as sowing, harvesting, and irrigation. For farmers, benefits can also derive from crop insurance based on actual hydrological data (established drought periods entail repayments).
In the list of beneficiaries, we find also energy supply companies: hydroelectric plants can plan the distribution of resources on time based on rainfall estimates. With wind and radiation data, wind farms and photovoltaic systems can know what to expect and plan maintenance operations.
Drinking water companies, in a continent where water for the population is scarce and access to water resources is not simple, benefit from TWIGA’s services in different ways. These benefits include understanding how much water will be consumed according to weather forecasts, how to manage water basins based on the future inflow of water, and plan water saving measures through the data obtained.
TWIGA, thanks to the information gathered through GeoGuard and satellite equipment, will provide the necessary data to better forecast phenomena such as heavy rain and storms, helping the responsible entities – e.g. NGOs like the Red Cross and Red Crescent – in the management of critical situation and natural disasters (floods, landslides, avalanches, mudflows).
TWIGA therefore has the purpose to collect and use data not only for strictly meteorological purposes, but also to create value-added information services useful to multiple users.