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Sensor competition

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You are invited to contribute...


The TransAfrican HydroMeteorological Observatory (TAHMO) seeks to place weather stations across Africa. It is important to catalog and make accessible all the currently collected climate data so that interested people can start their data analysis efforts, to avoid redundancy in TAHMO installations, and to prioritize the coming years of effort.

A network of 20,000 hydro-meteorological stations

The idea behind this project is to build a dense network of hydro-meteorological monitoring stations in sub-Saharan Africa; one every 30 km. This entails the productions of 20,000 such stations. By applying innovative sensors and ICT, each station should cost not more than $200. The stations would be placed at schools and integrated in the educational program. The data will be combined with models and satellite observations to obtain a very complete insight into the distribution of water and energy stocks and fluxes.

Within this project, we have built a prototype of an acoustic disdrometer (rain gauge) that can be produced for €10, less than one percent of the cost of a commercial equivalent with the same specifications. The disdrometer was developed in The Netherlands and tested in Tanzania for a total project cost of €5000.

Listen to the rainfall recording from Tanzania.


Monitoring Africa's environment is an important challenge if the continent's resources are to be used in an optimal and sustainable manner. Food production and harvest predictions would profit from improved understanding of water availability over space and time. Presently, the African observation network is very limited. National governments and regional planners do not have the data to make proper decisions regarding investments in water resources infrastructure.

                           Before                                                                 After

Map showing number of sensors in Africa before TAHMO


Needs and limitations

The need to be able to access historical climate data is critical in order to efficiently manage water resources. Currently there are stations available in Africa, but they are very spread out, and mostly clumped in northern and southern Africa, leaving huge data gaps in central Africa. The Current African Climate Data that is available  is not arranged in a convenient way for the user to access. The sites that we have gathered have incomplete data sets or only a select few variables of interest. Even if there are weather stations available, this does not ensure that the data will be shared with the public. Many times there is a lack of communication where the collected data is not shared publically, regionally or nationally. This creates data gaps at multiple levels. Another issue, which could be the most important, is that historically data was recorded on paper, and has not been cataloged electronically. With this data literally sitting somewhere, we run the risk of losing this data forever. Accurate climate data is essential for agriculture, weather prediction and climate modeling. With an increase in quantity and quality of climate stations, we can move forward towards the goal of obtaining accurate climate data.

Contact us

The project requires many skills and resources.  Not just technical, but also financial and educational inputs are needed to make this project a success. 

An initial, in-progress list of tasks that need to be undertaken can be found under Tasks to be completed.

If you are interested in the TAHMO project and would like to contribute or share your ideas, please contact us at info@tahmo.org.


Watch the video below for a detailed explanation of the project...

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