The Kibabii University Automatic Weather Station (KIBU-AWS) is a collaborative project between, Kibabii University, Trans-Africa Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO) and Kenya Meteorological Service. The TAHMO project aims to create a dense weather station network in Sub-Saharan Africa through installation of such AWS and observatories in strategic locations. This network will close the gap in Sub-Saharan climate measurements, thereby increasing the amount of available and reliable weather data to the region. The robust data has various applications including improving local and global long-term climate models and short-term weather forecasts. Additionally, the weather stations provide practical learning field laboratories to improve weather and climate sciences education, literacy, and agricultural insurance in the Sub-Saharan region.
The KIBU-AWS is fully functional and automatic, with a rain gauge, solar radiation sensor, sonic wind sensor, temperature sensor, humidity sensor and lightning detector. As a host institution to TAHMO-AWS, Kibabii University has been enrolled in the school-to-school (school2school.net) program, and the (grobe.gov) program that give the University global visibility as a weather observatory host institution granting KIBU the wider access to big data generated by the program globally.
The KIBU-AWS has the capacity to provide short-term predictions of weather conditions for the next 5 days (5-DAY FORECAST) within a radius of 20 kilometers from its current location. This means farmers in Bungoma County particularly in areas such as Kanduyi, Kabuchai, Sang’alo, Webuye, Kimilili, Chwele, Cheptais, Sirisia and Bumula are target beneficiaries of the 5-day forecast data.
The station was commissioned on April 19th 2018 and is now on a live link hosted by the university website (aws.kibu.ac.ke) via a sub-domain. This initiative is very instrumental and has enhanced easy access of the real-time data generated from the station an hourly basis for purposes of teaching, learning and research extension services. The department of geography is responsible for providing technical and educational support services targeting students (university, secondary and primary levels), as well as the general public on a day to day basis.