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SMA launches observation network in the country |04 January 2024

SMA launches observation network in the country

Mr Hoareau addressing the gathering

The Seychelles Meteorological Authority (SMA) has launched its observation network to strengthen climate change monitoring and improve its early warning system.

The Seychelles Meteorological Authority Observation Network Evolution (SMAONE) is made up of 13 automatic weather stations installed across the country, specifically 10 on Mahé, two on Praslin and one on La Digue. It was launched in a ceremony held at the Eden Bleu Hotel, Eden Island late last week.

The sophisticated weather stations are to support the enhancement of climate services in order to keep pace with rapid technological development and address the increasing impacts of extreme weather events related to climate change.

It can measure the amount of water vapour in the distant clouds that will allow forecasters to know how much rain will fall and the intensity with which it will hit the islands, hence giving the correct weather forecast and weather warnings.

The stations have a platform from which users and the general public can access real time information on the prevailing weather conditions. They are connected to a main server at SMA where the weather observers can access information on a 24-hour basis to give out early warnings when necessary.  

Before the installation of those automatic stations, the SMA relied on voluntary observers for information after every 24 hours when they had finished with the measuring the rainfall.

The installation of the weather stations which have been in operation for four months now, took place from December 2022 to June 2023.

Addressing the gathering, the chairperson of the SMA, Gerard Hoareau, said that given the serious threats by climate change to humanity and its diverse impacts on our lives, there is an urgent need for SMA to invest and share resources to address these challenges while ensuring the sustainability of the aviation weather services.

“This will ensure that weather and climate information reach every citizen across the country, and by doing so reach one step closer towards the realisation of the ‘Early Warning for All Initiative’ that the World Meteorological Organisation is advocating,” said Mr Hoareau.

The launching of the observation network was marked by various presentations. Project consultant Dominique Mekies from La Reunion gave an overview of the network, Dr Laurent Sam from Sustainability for Seychelles (S4S) gave an overview of the air quality from its 13 stations across the country while chief executive of the of SMA, Vincent Amelie, gave an update on the current rainy season 2023/2024. He also made a presentation on the authority’s performance-based system in place.

In an interview with the media, Mr Amelie said that since SMA moved to the Seychelles International Airport in 1971, its prime duties was to cater for weather forecast for the aviation.

He added that given the impact from climate change and from sea level rise, the time has come now for SMA to put some more attention to weather forecast and weather warnings on a greater scale that will mitigate impact on lives and properties.

“The station, especially the one in Bel Ombre, have helped us in the recent rain disaster in the district where we were able to see how the rain was falling and its intensity. They will also help us in our research to better understand the rainfall pattern, how much rain will fall, and also when an abnormal rainfall, like the one in Bel Ombre, will occur, so that we can prepare ourselves,” said Mr Amelie.

During the ceremony, SMA’s senior engineer, Varunakumar Rajendran, was recognised for his good work during 2023, while 65-year-old driver, Roy Reine, was presented with a token of appreciation on his retirement with the authority.


Text & photos by Patrick Joubert


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