Notes to broadcasters on airing traditional and scientific weather forecasts

    | July 9, 2012

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    Radio Mang’elete is a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner. If your station would like to join our network, please send your request to

    In this story, farmers benefit from combining  traditional weather forecasting and meteorological forecasts to better predict rainfall. The results are then broadcast on radio to help farmers prepare for these changes.

    Research has shown that traditional forecasting methods have been and continue to be successful in predicting future weather and helping farmers prepare. But as climate change brings more erratic weather patterns and drought, scientific weather prediction is becoming more important.

    This website discusses the importance of combining traditional and scientific weather knowledge in Kenya:

    Here are four other news stories on this topic:

    Kenya: Successful Weather Prediction Uses Old and New:

    Predicting Weather with Science and Spider Webs:

    Kenya: Drought Puts Traditional Weather Forecasters On The Defensive:

    Traditional weather prediction incorporated into Kenyan forecasts:

    The following two–part Farm Radio International script talks about traditional weather forecasting:

    -Farmers have important knowledge about weather and environmental change – Part I: Learning about local signs of drought (Package 75, Script 5, June 2005)

    -Farmers have important knowledge about weather and environmental change – Part II: Preparing for drought (Package 75, Script 6, June 2005)

    This script also touches on traditional weather forecasting techniques:

    -Changing farming production in Africa to adapt to climate change (Package 84, Script 14, April 2008)

    Also, check out the lead article in Farm Radio International’s Voices newsletter #75, from June 2005: Tapping Into Farmers’ Traditional Systems of Forecasting Drought and Other Environmental Change

    Here is a story from Farm Radio Weekly related to weather forecasting:

    Mali: Sali Samaké’s journey from literacy class to weather reports (FRW 147, March 2011)

    Are there traditional weather forecasters in your area? Have they been collaborating with scientific weather forecasters? Ask local “rainmakers” or traditional weather experts their opinions on the changing climate, and the challenges this brings for their methods. What kind of signs do they look for to tell them about upcoming weather? Have their methods changed?

    Talk to farmers in your area and find out the situation – do they turn to national broadcasts based on modern methods, or do they have confidence in traditional weather forecasts?

    You might want to set up a roundtable discussion between traditional and modern scientific forecasters. Perhaps they could collaborate in your area, just as they do in Kenya.