The Director-General of Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) Director General/CEO, Professor Abubakar Sani Mashi, has embarked on a marathon national tour of the Agency’s operations.
This tour kicked off at the operational headquarters of NiMet at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, as part of his firsthand assessment of the quality of the wide array of services NiMet offers, in line with its core mandate.
To ensure the Director General’s tour kicked off on a fitting note, there was no better place to start than its operational headquarters at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, where enthusiastic staff, key management, and departmental heads, plus the outgoing Director General, Dr. Anthony Anuforom, were on hand to ensure a seamless programme.
Of strategic importance in the tour of the operational headquarters were the very prominent Central Forecast Office, Calibration Laboratory, the Doppler Weather Radar, NiMet Library and the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Centre, all crucial to the delivery of its very strategic contributions to various sectors of the economy.
NiMet departmental heads took turns to explain the workings of the various sensitive units in the highly technical semi-autonomous agency.
Responding to questions on the first day of the familiarization visit, a visibly delighted Prof Sani Mashi declared:
“I am impressed with the very sensitive nature of the work done here and quite ready and willing to promote staff welfare, based on creativity, innovation, and professionalism required to take NiMet to the next level”.
A scientist himself, with a sound background in soil geography, Remote Sensing, and environmental management, Prof Sani Mashi is in `good company with meteorologists and forecasters with whom he has had very fruitful interactions.
According to him: “The passion and dedication of the staff and management to providing timely, accurate and strategic weather information for the country is very well known. It is an honour to join this team and work alongside these professionals in making NiMet even greater”.
The Nigeria Meteorological Agency was established by an Act of National Assembly in 2003 and charged with articulating government policy on all aspects of meteorology, and to issue weather and climate forecasts for the safe operations of aircraft, ocean-going vessels, and oil rigs; to observe, collate, collect, process and disseminate all meteorological data and information within and outside country, in support of sustainable socio-economic activities in Nigeria.
How the Agency delivers on this onerous responsibility is the reason for the tour, which took the team to the Forecast Office, Briefing Room, Meteo Unit and Upper Air Station, inside the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The next item on Professor Sanni Mashi`s itinerary was a visit to the Port Harcourt International Airport. At the Forecast office, the Assistant General Manager, Mr. Adelugba, explained the functions of the sensor equipment and how this equipment supports aviation safety and navigation.
According to him, “There are two sensors at the two ends of the runway, namely the wind sensor and light detection sensor”, adding that “manual readings may be used to augment communication with the control tower and runway, in real time, right in front of the air traffic controllers, especially when a change of sensor results in incompatibility which may hamper the functionality of the sensor, hence the need for manual readings”.
Adelugba gave some insight into an aspect of the work of NiMet, which involves inter – agency collaboration within the Aviation Ministry. One of such relationship is with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, and both agencies currently run a joint project called MIDAS IV which computes weather variables and parameters. Both agencies also have a Unit Aeronautic Information System AS, stationed for flight dispatchers or for pilots to file their flight plan. Based on these flight plans, the pilots and dispatchers are given weather information along with their routes.
Another important briefing, of the Director General and his team at the Port Harcourt International Airport Forecast Office, concerning the delicate functions of the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), was given by Engineer Musa. Sirajo.His words: “the MSG Satellites are operated as a two-satellite system, continually returning detailed imagery of Europe, Africa and parts of the Atlantic and
His words: “the MSG Satellites are operated as a two-satellite system, continually returning detailed imagery of Europe, Africa and parts of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean every 15 minutes, for operational use by meteorologists. The reason for the duplication is simply to guarantee continuity of service in case of satellite failure”. He explained that: ”Weather Satellites have become so crucial part of our daily life that any long gap in service coverage is simply inconceivable”.
Engineer Sirajo also explained the significance of the Low-Level Wind shear Alert System (LLWAS) as being “crucial in the measurement of average surface wind speed and direction, using a network of remote sensor stations, situated near runways and a long approach or departure corridors at an airport”. In addition, he said, “the LLWAS compares results over its operating area to determine whether calm, steady winds, wind shifts (in relation to runways), wind gusts, divergent winds, sustained divergent winds (indicative of shear), or strong and sustained divergent winds (indicative of microbursts) are observed