Data Management and Analysis support for Lesotho Meteorological Services

IDEMS, with its partner Statistics for Sustainable Development (Stats4SD), under a project funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is supporting the Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) to store, manage and analyse their historical climatic data. Through this work LMS will be able to easily produce climatic products (graphs & tables) for their country that are needed to be presented to farmers in workshops as part of the PICSA project.

IDEMS work included visits to LMS, initially to support data cleaning efforts of their large historical data. IDEMS’ role in particular was in setting up data correction processes and understanding the sources of data errors, as well as creating processes with LMS to minimise these for future data collection. 

This then led to supporting LMS to import their data into the latest version of Climsoft, a climate database management system, to ensure that data is properly stored and managed. There were also capacity building components where the LMS data management team visited the UK for training on using statistical software to clean, prepare and analyse their data to produce the graphs and tables needed to eventually be presented to farmers in workshops to help them understand climate risks.

This project was both stimulating and challenging because of the varied role IDEMS has played in the project. Through visits to LMS and interactions with their staff, it was fascinating to understand how better data management process across all the data handling stages could lead to higher quality final data. 

This was challenging too as it required gaining an understanding of the workings of the data processes throughout LMS. This project was also the first where IDEMS focused on temperature data, in comparison to its work in many other African countries where rainfall is the most important climatic variable, so it was interesting to design new tailored products for temperature data. It has also been useful to interact with LMS as a user of Climsoft which has helped IDEMS to better understand the needs from a climate database management system.