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Lesotho snow monitored from space: what do the local users say?
Water is a limited resource in Lesotho. Consequently, there is an increasing demand for the monitoring of snow conditions in order to improve long-term planning and water resource management.
The Project Snow monitoring and climate modelling in Lesotho aims to improve the understanding of snow cover variability in Lesotho by providing an easy to use and accurate satellite-based snow cover product for local stakeholders and World Bank Task Teams.
In November 2015, a one-week workshop on the use of the developed snow cover product took place in Lesotho. Potential users from different institutions and sectors participated.
“In agriculture snow is very important as a source of moisture to kick start cropping, especially in the mountains where the season starts early. Spatial information [on snow cover] is of great importance so that we are able to locate areas with sufficient moisture to inform crop production” said a participant of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
A representative of the Lesotho Meteorological Service further stated: “It [the product] helps to understand snow variability in relation to water resources” and “The training was important to ensure sustainability and that the products are used productively”.
The workshop showed a high commitment of local users, which is the main prerequisite for the sustainable use of present Earth Observation products as well as for introducing further satellite-based information products. The project is part of the “Earth Observation for Development - eoworld” initiative. It is funded by ESA and implemented by the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss in collaboration with the University of Bern. For more information please visit this site.
More user statements
“We do not have snow data available, and now, if we get asked for that, we can reply with good data instead of just writing a couple of lines.”
“In agriculture snow is very important as a source of moisture to kick start cropping, especially in the mountains where the season starts early. Spatial information [on snow cover] is of great importance so that we are able to locate areas with sufficient moisture to inform crop production.”
“We expect to learn a lot from the project to inform agriculture in Lesotho, especially in the changing climate.”
“It [the product] helps to understand snow variability in relation to water resources.”
“The products will help us in climate monitoring and climate change. Since the changing climate is an important aspect it would also be important to know the impacts of climate change on snowfall.”
“Training was important to ensure sustainability and that the products are used productively.”
“We gained a lot from the workshop and the snow product we have will help us in climate monitoring analysis. It was also an eye opener. However, we would also like to have the snow products perhaps daily for other operations such as nowcasting and climate monitoring”
- Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Lesotho Meteorological Service –