Meteorology in YemenDoes it fulfill its role properly? [Archives:2003/650/Health]

July 14 2003
Dr. Ahmed al-Makaleh
Dr. Ahmed al-Makaleh
Mohammed bin Sallam
Dr. Ahmed al-Makaleh, married and has got three children. He has worked in meteorology since 1978. He is the deputy assistant for the meteorological affairs in Yemen.
He is the forerunner who follows up closely climate changes and temperature in Yemen hour by hour and minute by minute. As for the situation, the meteorology center and future plans, al-Makaleh has been recently interviewed by the Yemen Times reporter, Mohammed Bin Sallam and filed the following report.
As for the meteorology center and its tasks given, he said:
Meteorology Center tasks have a stereotypical characteristic given to all countries, considering it as a device to observe all weather and climate changes and their influence on man. It also affects other elements pertaining to the occurrence of rain, drought, humidity and temperature changes. All those factors have an influence on man and on food he eats.
Meteorology-related activities are considered to be prevailing one available in the whole country such as agriculture and water.
As a result of technological advancement, man at first thought of how to get acclimatized with how he should work. This has been done in order to overcome the weather-related difficulties and changes.
New methods and techniques were invented. Man resorted to build houses which were in the form of small habitations.
They were in short of all necessary essentials such as, electricity, water, and air-conditioning facilities.
Man started reclaiming lands to increase production.
Different new kinds of cereals were added to food.
In order to resist drought, genetic properties were used.
When man first started thinking to utilize his movement, the land in most cases has come first, then sea and air.
The common prevailing factor among those three is weather and climate changes.
Meteorology has played a leading role in air transportation.
All international airports and aviation depend basically on weather reports whether in peacetime or wartime.
The meteorology center gets information from several main resources:
– From the national meteorological stations in Yemen and its territorial waters according to potentials available here.
– From the international network where we could obtain information about the meteorological stations for all the countries in the world.

Obtaining information
As for the way the center gets information, Mr. al-Makaleh said:
We receive information through space satellites.
Those space satellites are possessed by some countries.
Information is gathered and sent to regional meteorological centers which observe the atmospheric changes taking place there around the clock. Information can be obtained through the World Meteorology Organization, one of the specialized organizations affiliated to the United Nations.
Majority of countries are members in that organization including Yemen.
Regulations and laws have to be followed by those countries.
Several institutions and ministries also make use of that information which is freely obtained.
The most significant point here is that that information is obtained free considering cooperation the major aspect.
What has been achieved or done is just for the benefit of institutions and public bodies.
All government's institutions obtain their information from the meteorology center such as, oil, electricity, universities, telecommunications, insurance companies, urban constructions, roads, and military and civil aviation.
As for information obtained by the agriculture ministry, information is given on demand, considering the agriculture ministry as a body that has taken interest in reclaiming lands, bringing new crops and seeds, looking for a suitable environment in order to produce crops and other cereals according to meteorological studies and surveys.
In order to add other factors suitable for planting those seeds, one has to reconsider soil and land used for agriculture.

Reciprocal relations
As for water resources, Mr. al-Makaleh said:
The water resource is the responsibility of all of us. As it is known to all that Yemen suffers from water scarcity. This is because; Yemen is devoid of permanent canals. Agriculture in Yemen depends basically on rainfall or wells water. In both cases, one has to take into his consideration the rainfall forecast and underground water quantities in each area in Yemen respectively. Consequently, metrology in this case amasses all that information and therefore an interest has to be taken in any study related to this. Rainfall in Yemen is rare. This is because Yemen is located near the equator and therefore it is classified as one the semi-desert zones. As a result of the Yemen's topographical division, Yemen's weather varies from one region to another. Rain in the coastal areas is rare while in the mountainous heights, rainfall increases a little bit. In desert areas, rainfall is also rare. Rainfall water quantity in Yemen and its distribution varies somewhat if compared to other countries of the world. This is because Yemen is featured by its topographical division such as, coastal, mountainous, and desert areas. As a result, rainfall water in Yemen is limited.
As opposed to this, water resulting from rainfall in Europe is different, i.e. an atmospheric climate change influences most countries and rain falls semi-permanently. During the last years, season climate change is clearly observed with regard to rainfall quantities. The Meteorology Center has branches in most of the governorates, except those governorates that have been recently established. We have been seeking to add network station to observe the climate changes.

Sudden weather changes
The climate change is influenced by the earth. But in other places of the world, water from heavy rainfall quantity resulted in torrents, washing out soil and causing inevitable problems. Drought is prevalent in other places of the world. Those regions used to have large quantities of water from rainfall. This is because of the heat occlusion gases which increases the earth average temperature as a whole.

Random coordination
As for information aired by TV, radio and other media, he said:
The average of information accuracy is incomplete and what are needed are potentials and means in order to get an ideal level. In order to reach that level, one needs to operate highly sophisticated computers and employing a large number of programmers. A few numbers of countries in the world possess those advanced technological potentials and above all they are capable of employing those technologies.
We are attempting to disseminate information to the public through news on TV, radio, and newspapers.
As for the center's contributions to help fishermen to be equipped with information on weather changes, Mr. al-Makaleh said: Fishing activity in Yemen has been randomly used. As a result of availability of a large number of fishermen alongside the Yemen coastlines, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the center and the concerned bodies at the transportation ministry. We have future plans to provide telephones in order to facilitate contact processes among citizens in order to know weather changes in all governorates of the republic. This hopefully is to be implemented during this year. Around 85 percent of information accuracy pertaining to the weather forecast around the clock has been exceeded.

Others do it
As for the body which provides ships navigating our territorial waters al-Makaleh remarked: We don't provide ships at present because our network has not expanded yet. Large ships are fully equipped with regard to receiving information from their countries. Some ships get information from countries such as Djibouti which has a meteorological station supported by France. The World Meteorology Organization has six territories, the first is in Africa and the second is in Asia and that Yemen is affiliated to the second station.
This has been done in order to cope with information technology, its distribution, plans, and other industrial aspects.
An expected visit is to be paid by the director of 2nd Regional Union for reviewing the cooperation fields.
As for administrative system adopted by the center, Dr. al-Makaleh said: Always, the main aspect in this regard is life experience. We have learnt a lot from different countries whether from east or west. Of course, each administration in this or that country has its own merits and demerits and has its own application systems. We have learned also through acquired learning skills whether in learning, reading or participation. We haven't entirely relied upon a given administrative system. But we work in accordance with accounting and financial systems.
As for the accounting field affiliated to the meteorological department, we follow the general state system.
As for the weather changes and the rainfall in unexpected seasons, al-Makaleh remarked:
As a result of climate changes, the season of rainfall comes in a specific time of the year.
For example, the weather changes of the Indian Ocean always come saturated with water evaporation. If a strong wind blows from the east, winds coming from the north and east-north can be sublimated upwards. The water-evaporated wind leads to cloud formation and then rain. But, what has been taking place this year is that winds have been too weak.
The winds coming from the north were strong. But, last month we were exposed to large waves of dust storms coming from north and north-east passing through desert regions. The humidity and water evaporation percentage is little and temperature is too high. Consequently, clouds are formed and that before the dusk, those clouds are removed. The second reason behind the rainfall fluctuation can be attributed to the public water circulation and the earth as a whole. As for the rare rainfall on littoral areas, Dr. al-Makaleh said: Winds that blow from the north-west direction, we observe that those winds pass over the Red Sea. A lot of humidity blow from water surface as a result of natural evaporation. The heat of coastline areas and heat above them are approximate, when those winds blow to mountains.