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Using Tech to Fight East Africa’s Locust Invasion

Scientists monitoring the movements of the worst locust outbreak in Kenya in 70 years are hopeful that a new tracking programme they will be able to prevent a second surge of the crop-ravaging insects. Kenneth Mwangi, a satellite information scientist, based at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development climate prediction and applications centre, based in Nairobi, said researchers were running a supercomputer model to predict breeding areas that may have been missed by ground monitoring. These areas could become sources of new swarms if not sprayed. So far, the supercomputer, funded by £35m of UK aid as part of its Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa programme, has successfully forecast the movement of locusts using data such as wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. The model has achieved 90% accuracy in forecasting the future locations of the swarms, Mwangi said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN