Bus3Conrad Mwanawashe  Business Reporter
THE Meteorological Services Department will later this year release an updated version of its Climsoft Climate Software with features which include scenarios of future climate and data management.Zimbabwe developed the Climsoft Climate software which was adopted by the World Meteorological Organisation making the country the only developing country to provide such high-end climate software.

Met Dept director Dr Amos Makarau said in an interview that Version 4 of Climsoft Climate Software will be available later this year.

“We are now on Version 4 of Climsoft which will be available later this year. This one now includes scenarios of future climate. We need to assist countries to access whether climate which has been changing. By coming up with such software we want to identify those indices and assist countries to manage their data,” said Dr Makarau.

Climsoft Climate Software is a data management system which was designed by experts at the Met Dept. The software brings data from all sources together and formats it so that it can easily be accessible not only by the Met Dept but by other end users who include aviation, agriculture and other sectors.

The software collates climate data and aggregates into sector specific data.

“So we managed to develop the software package which will enable easy access by the users so that they can easily use this data and apply it for their own operations. The information includes climate change indices and climate change indicators,” he said.

The WMO floated bids for countries throughout the world to come up with software to assist the member countries to manage their data. Zimbabwe responded and became one of the seven countries in the world whose software was approved by WMO.

“This software is very useful for developing countries. Zimbabwe signed an MoU with the WMO to allow the member countries to use the software for free,” said Dr Makarau.

Climsoft is currently being used by 27 countries in Africa, 10 in Asia, eight in the Caribbean and 12 countries in the Pacific.

Zimbabwe is the only developing country in the world that has developed such software for the world and is now moving to patent the software.

“This week we were discussing how to patent the software. Our developers have been to ARIPO to start the process of patenting the Climsoft software.

“The idea came about following attempts by some developed countries to high-jack the software and patent it as if they developed it,” said Dr Makarau.

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe has given the Met Dept the green light to engage mobile phone operators for the transmission of severe weather forecast and warnings.

“We are now having discussions with the mobile operators so that we come up with climate packages for dissemination through their networks for free. We believe that every person has the right to know what is happening with climate,” he said.

ICTs have become an important tool in climate issues. Mobile phones have become a key tool in weather related data dissemination.

Zimbabwe boasts a tele-density rate, a measure of a country’s active mobile phone SIM cards in use compared to its population, of 106 percent.

But Dr Makarau warned that a weather report that come on the smart phones and does not originate from the Met Dept is not always accurate.
“Smart phones have weather platforms but these are not correct. You can use the weather on your smart phones at your own peril. It’s coming from outside the world and they use specimens, they approximate, that is why it is not accurate.

“Those who publish or give weather forecasts must indicate source of the weather because people always assume that its coming from us,” said Dr Makarau.

“We are the only ISO Certified department in Government. It means that our duty is to be as professional as possible with integrity,” he said.