Processing climatic data from volunteer stations in Western Kenya

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 Host Institution : African Mathematics Initiative (AMI), 

 Location: Maseno, Kenya. Contact: James K. Musyoka, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Sciences, Maseno University. E-mail:

Supervisors: James K Musyoka, Roger Stern, University of Reading and Stats4SD, Reading, UK.

Project Description

The intern will join the AMI team of young staff who are working on a range of topics concerned with mathematics and its applications. They will mainly work on the topic below.  They will also be given the opportunity to take part in occasional AMI initiatives many of which (like Maths camps), are designed to improve Mathematics Education at school and university levels.

Historical data are available from over 50 volunteer stations in Western Kenya.  They include data on multiple elements from 7 of these stations together with rainfall records from each station.  There are currently over 600,000 records of daily rainfall data.  These data are to 2013 and are in the process of being updated with the more recent data.  The intern will work with these data.  Tasks include supervising the entry of these data into the Climsoft climate data management system.  These data also form the basis of a tutorial introduction to Climsoft and this will be updated.  R-Instat will be used for the quality control of these data.  Most of the stations would also welcome capacity-building on how they might process their data further and training materials could usefully be prepared and piloted.

The intern will also become responsible for using these data to test improvements in the R-Instat climatic menu.  For example, testing the new system on infilling of climatic data will be of great interest to the staff at the individual stations.

The intern may also become involved in one area of improvement of the software.  One topic of interest is the quality control of the data.  There are currently special dialogues for rainfall and temperatures.  Adding facilities for other elements would be of value.

One objective of this internship is to have a large check data set from multiple stations available for wide use.  The data providers have given permission for these data to be made freely available. ]

Project Expected Outcomes

Long-Term goals: Each country in Africa has a National Meteorological Service (NMS). The NMS provides their country with the short-term forecast, and also often provides a special service for the aviation sector.  Many countries also provide a seasonal forecast.  In addition, the NMS is usually the custodian of the long-term historical data for their country.  Most countries claim their density of climatic stations is insufficient and the manual stations have recently been supplemented by sets of automatic stations.  There are many important uses of these historical records, particularly with concerns about climate change, but most services would agree that their existing data are currently insufficiently analysed.  This work is designed to provide and illustrate the use of a tool that is a “game changer” in this field. One goal is for NMS staff and others interested in this area, to add the full exploitation of these data into their “comfort zone”, in the same way as they handle climatic forecasts.

Applications for this internship should be submitted via the online application system, stating clearly the title of the internship.

Deadline for applications: January 20th, 2020 – 11:59 PM (EAT).

Any inquiries about these internships should be sent to: