Supporting PICSA (Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture) and other applications in agriculture

  1. Internship Project Title [Supporting PICSA (Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture) and other applications in agriculture. ]


  1. Host Institution [African Mathematics Initiative (AMI), ]


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


  1. Supervisors [James K Musyoka, Roger Stern, University of Reading and Stats4SD, Reading, UK ( ]
  2. 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.

    PICSA ( provides climate information for small-holder farmers.  It has been implemented in many countries in Africa, and beyond, with support from WFP, IFAD, UNDP, CCAFS and others. The National Met Service (NMS) is a key player in each country where PICSA is implemented.  The R-Instat software has a special PICSA menu and is one of the main tools used by the NMS to produce graphs and other products for PICSA.  This topic will extend the facilities offered for PICSA.  This can include apps that can present the graphs interactively, products related to temperatures as well as rainfall and analyses for sites where flooding is as much a problem as droughts.  There could also usefully be an investigation of how to strengthen the use of R-Instat in relation to the provision of the seasonal forecast.

    One further area for the intern to explore is the possible addition of crop simulation models into the PICSA analyses. This might be termed “Crop simulation modelling made easy.”  This is also an important area to support agricultural research and development in general.  It is held back in Africa, partly because the standard software (ApSim from Australia and DSSAT from USA) both require daily records on rainfall, Tmax, Tmin and radiation or sunshine hours with no missing values.  Hence this topic will also include methods of infilling the climatic records.]

  3. Project Expected Outcomes [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.]