The Information Divide in the Climate Sciences
Survey of the Information Divide
Part One: Access to resources
1. Please list titles of up to 4 publications that contain articles or information most important for your work. If you know the country of publication, please indicate it as well.
2. Do you have full access to all of these publications? [ ]Yes [ ]No
If 'no', what are
the reasons limiting your access?
3. Do you receive
the publications as soon as they are published ?
A.[ ] B.[ ] C.[ ] D.[ ]
If no, how many months
4. Does any delay
negatively affect your ability to do work/research?
5. Are there any
publications you would like to have access to but do not?
If yes, please list
up to 3 titles:
6. How many Conferences
do you attend in a year?
7. Please rank the
ways in which you find new articles/information
[ ]Find references
If databases are
used please specify names of up to two databases:
[ ]Get or hear about
8. Where does the
data/information for your work come from?
[ ]generated by you
or your institution
9. Do you have access to all the data you need? [ ]Yes [ ]No
If no, what are the
major reasons limiting your access?
10. Other issues
or experience with accessing information/forecasts or data you would like
11. Do you collaborate with researchers in other countries? [ ]Yes [ ]No
12. If yes, please
list up to 3 countries:
13. Means of communication.
With foreign colleagues:
With domestic colleagues:
14. Is the most frequent means of communication indicated in 13. the means of communication you would prefer? [ ]Yes [ ]No
If 'no', what limits
your use of your preferred means?
15. Do you work with
international scientific organizations or networks?
If yes, please list
most common 3 you work with (no acronyms please).
Part Two: Publications
16. In the last 3 years, what publications have you submitted papers to?
Title Language Country
17. On average, how
many months did the process take from submission to
18. What would be
helpful for you to assist publication in these/other
[ ]Access to research
data or forecasts
19. Please describe
any other difficulties publishing or communicating your
20. Please describe
any help or assistance you have received or would like
Part Three: Communications Infrastructure
21. Where you use a computer? (check all that apply)
[ ]In your office
(primarily your own computer)
22. Where do you
use a computer most frequently?
23. Do you pay for
each time you use the computer in location in 22 above?
24. Do you have access to the Internet? [ ]Yes [ ]No
If you do not have access to the Internet, please skip to question 31.
25. Where do you access the Internet. (please mark all that apply)
[ ]From your desk/office
27. Do you pay for each time you use the Internet from your most frequent choice in 26? [ ]Yes [ ]No
28. Does the cost of Internet access negatively affect your ability to do your work/research? [ ]Yes [ ]No
29. What Internet functions do you commonly use: (please rank all that apply, 1=most frequent, 2=next most frequent, etc. leave blank those not used)
[ ]Electronic mail
30. Is your connection fast enough or reliable enough to permit:
31. Are there other
resources or programs on the Internet you would like access to?
32. Please describe
any other concerns, difficulties or experiences using the Internet you
would like to share.
Part Four: Descriptive Information
Please tell us a little about yourself and your institution. This information is not for identification purposes, but to classify the responses. Answers will be kept confidential.
A) Your Institution:
Institution Size (approximate number of researchers)
Department/Division Size (approximate number of researchers)
Major Research Topic(s):
Other Languages Spoken
(please mark all that apply):
Other Languages Written
(please mark all that apply):
Primary Language used
at your institution Spoken:
Your Primary Job:
Your Education Level
beyond secondary/high school:
Details of Degrees received:
How did you hear about
How did you get a
copy of the survey?
We would like to distribute
this survey as widely as possible. Please let
Full Name Email or
Part Five: Contact Information
This information is optional, but necessary for follow-up contact. If you are interested in results of the survey, or are willing to be contacted again, please provide us with some personal information.
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The meteorological and climate community in Kenya is concentrated in Nairobi. The Kenya Meteorological department hosts the National Meteorological Library, a training institute that functions as the WMO Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC) and the WMO sponsored Drought Monitoring Center for East and Southern Africa. The Department of Meteorology at the University of Nairobi has 15 faculty members and lecturers. As of December 2001 there were 2 masters students, 10 PhD students (none from Kenya) and 5-10 students in each of 4 undergraduate classes. Kenya has been a center for training for most of East Africa for many years.
In addition, there is an active science base outside of meteorology and climate. The Kenyan Academy of sciences has an active program and journals, as does the African Academy of Sciences, which is headquartered in Nairobi. There is also an active Kenyan Meteorological Society, which holds a workshop every 2 years. But there is no funding to publish proceedings.
The Ministry of Environment works on climate issues on a project by project basis, with funding from international agencies (including the US country studies program and the GEF). They are interested in participating in regional modeling efforts, not just the inventories and mitigation studies. A sustainable basis for information was desired. Sustainable in this context means continuing after external resources have been exhausted. Email access is expensive, bandwidth is low, and researchers do not have access to the Internet (almost a government monopoly). They often come to the Ministry of Environment for assistance, and the ministry itself may not have access after projects end.
The Kenya Meteorological Department maintains 35 national stations by telephone and radio telephone links. They would like to install automated weather stations and would like a system to communicate more directly with rural areas. For climate records they started off with 2500 voluntary reporting stations in the 1960's. Perhaps 400-600 remain, mostly because of a lack of funds to go visit the stations every year or two. Forecasting is conducted by computer plotting of GTS data, manual addition of other data (radio telephone links) and then hand analysis. The greatest need of the KMD is for data collection. They are hoping to delink from the civil service and try to operate like a business ('privatization'). Potential advantages seen from such a move are to get sufficient funds and to reduce bureaucracy. The KMD hopes to follow the aviation authority after it is 'de-linked'. A large climate records archive exists. However, most digital data is on unread tapes and is deteriorating. Paper charts are used for analysis and forecasting but are not microfilmed or digitized.
The KMD National Meteorology Library has a collection of journals and textbooks, which is fairly comprehensive. Many major journals were current to within nearly a year (January 2001 issues were on the shelf in November 2001). Most of the textbooks are old (first versions and more complete for 1960-1970's than post 1980 books). Several journals are missing issues. Most international journals are from donated subscriptions or donated copies of journals. It is possible to do basic research and training but difficult to keep current in a disciplinary area with this information. The collection of WMO materials was more comprehensive.
The Institute for Meteorological Training and Research (IMTR) houses the WMO East African Regional Meteorological Training Center (RMTC). It has 3 classrooms and computer labs for hydrology (Dutch funding), satellite meteorology (EUMETSAT funding) and students. Most information comes from the WMO, some from donated (American Meteorological Society) Journals. The IMTR subscribes to a few journals. The major issue is that they cannot afford subscriptions or books, and get by on donated textbooks. The center would like to be operationally focused with an emphasis on media (have a popular 5 week course with forecasters from 10 countries) and commercialization to get revenue to sustain and upgrade systems.
The Drought Monitoring Center produces forecasts for all of east Africa. Resources include a 10 PC lab and an IBM server that is being prepared to run the RegCM (Regional Climate Model). These resources are funded by IRI and USAID. Much of the forecasting is based on using online data and forecast tools, such as 10 day forecasts from the Center for Ocean, Land and Atmospheres (COLA) in the USA, medium range forecasts from the Indian Meteorological Department and 7-10 day forecasts from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) in the USA. Hydrological forecasting is planned using a hydrologic model from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The DMC is highly dependent on Internet connectivity for forecast data.
The University of Nairobi Department of Meteorology does not have resources to pay even for postage and copies (for example, for submissions to journals). The department does not subscribe to journals, but gets some donated copies by informal links. Neither department library or university library has recent journals or books. 4 of 15 faculty have Internet access in their offices. Dialup connections exist to either the university computer science server or to the KMD. The university server was down the entire week of the country visit. Limitations on research were identified as : 1- Funding (some funding agencies will not fund government institutions) and 2- no textbooks or journals. There is no national body in Kenya (or in Africa outside of South Africa) that funds atmospheric science. Communication tends to be by mail even with domestic contacts and by email with foreign colleagues. The cost of publications is prohibitive, and many researchers in Kenya are discouraged by the cost, not realizing that they can get waivers. In addition, there is currently a problem attracting good students. Many students are going to other fields because there are difficulties for graduates of the program to get jobs (no research money). Future strategies for the department of meteorology include increased involvement with the private sector.
The Kenyan Academy of Sciences is trying to get a link to the online library at the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) in Trieste, Italy. Major limitations on information were identified as the cost of Internet access, and the limited availability of computers. Some local Kenyan journals exist, and publication in domestic or international journals is necessary for academic promotions. Also, the dominant generation in Kenyan academia is older, and doesn't use information technology (IT). Thus it is difficult to train students in IT.
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) indicated some general barriers to information exchange and publishing by African scientists. These were, 1- often research topics by African scientists are only of local interest. 2. The local nature of research often precludes verification. Northern journals are often narrow-minded. 3. The format of the submission may not match the journals' requested format. 4. The authors might not know the journals because they do not have access to reading them. 5- financial constrains exist to publishing, even in copying and shipping. One suggestion from the AAS was to have 'agents' or 'paper brokers' to assist developing country scientists.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Most of the Meteorological community (including the university) uses a satellite downlink from France given to the KMD. This line provides better reliability than other ways of connecting to the Internet. Computers were available at the university, but are old and unsupported (generally PC's 5 years and older). University faculty generally have to obtain donated computers and purchase ancillary equipment (printers) themselves. Most university computers are not networked. DMC computers are networked, and many hooked up to the Internet on the KMD campus.
In general, Internet access was easily available in Nairobi, but at significant cost. Speed was generally slow, with some down time. Occasionally fast access could be had. Interestingly, Kenya is a hub for African IT development. While the number of Internet users (56 per 10,000) is low, the number of Internet host computers is relatively high, second only to Thailand, and much higher than countries with a similar GDP level. This is probably due to the relative stability and education level in Nairobi, and its historical location as a hub for east Africa.
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology has several divisions, and two other forecast centers, one at the Kampala airport (Entebbe) and one at Soroti (in the northern part of the country). The equipment at department headquarters is mostly PC's. A few have CD-ROM drives.
The main focus areas are operations, research and training. Operational data is sent and meteorological bulletins produced for 10 day forecasts, seasonal forecasts and hydro-meteorological forecasts. These are sent by postal mail to district level (59 facilities), and to the drought monitoring center in Nairobi. Bulletins sent by Internet where possible (20 users). Data from the Nairobi Drought Monitoring Center (DMC) is usually received within 10 days. Seasonal forecasts are developed in Nairobi (a forecaster travels to the workshop) and then the Uganda consensus forecast is modified. This is a WMO sponsored program.
The meteorology department runs courses for training as a graduate course with Mykere University in Kampala. But they need 10 people for a course, and there are not that many job opportunities with the Meteorology department. Also, a lot of training is done with the IMTR Nairobi. They are trying to build in country capacity however. Class II training (below university level) is conducted at the National Meteorology Center-Entebbe with WMO instruction materials. In addition, a few forecasters are being trained in the US and Australia.
Research is dictated by demand (funding). Areas include climate, adaptation, vulnerability, CO2 sequestration. Data for research comes from some journals and publications. No electronic access used, though they would like to move that way.
Climate data is being archived on a data base system (Clicom v. 3.0 1996) on 33Mhz MS-DOS computers. Export printouts to tape and disk. 150 stations, 15 'synoptic' stations. Problems include no supplies for automatic records (like sun-tracking paper) The department receives records mailed in each month. A former data rescue project with Belgium resulted in a broken microfilm recorder/reader. 5 stations were filmed, but they can't read the microfilm.
The meteorology and hydrology has a RANET satellite system with 12 sites in Uganda. They uplink data to the system (warnings and bulletins) via the Internet and they download data via satellite (DMC Nairobi bulletins are on RANET). A radio and computer are necessary for reception.
The Department of Geography at Mykere University has worked with the Meteorology Department on training in the past. Students have been funded by the WMO. The program was shelved but focused on staff training. There are also undergraduate courses on climatology. The major problem with this research is access and affordability of information and poor record keeping. The university cannot purchase foreign journals or textbooks. There is Internet in central computer labs and main library, but no Internet in department. No dedicated research time, teaching only.
The information science department at Mykere University maintains an ISP for the university and a computer lab. It has several large labs with 100 computers (for 400 students). The ISP costs US$30,000 /month. The department has distance learning on-line. They hope to get some electronic journals through Donor funding. The department uses some electronic databases, trying to get optical fiber links to other regional universities. Sustainability of funding for Internet access is an issue for the university (beyond 1-2 year grant). They hope to incorporate this into student fees.
The department of meteorology and hydrology has major concerns about trying to improve the flow of data, and to maintain its station network. They would like to get a better satellite data receiver for their national meteorological center. For research, journals are too expensive. Only free journals are available. Standard download speeds take 40min/MB or US$4/MB. CDROM training materials would be useful, but few machines have CDROM drives.
The National Meteorological Center has several issues regarding data collection. Currently no data is received from central Africa (Congo) to the west. The Center has one system to get satellite imagery, and can use the Internet to get data from Nairobi, including some ECMWF analyses. They also use web to look at South African data that might not make it through the GTS system. Funding is part of the problem. The automated reporting system at airport needs replacing but the government doesn't allocate enough funds.
The department of Meteorology and Hydrology is also thinking of trying to transform itself into an independent agency. They are hoping to be semi-autonomous in 1-3 years with funding from the government, research and consultancy funding, and sale of products. Tanzania is an example for Uganda, they have just finished 'privatization'.
The major concern for the University is to sustain IT infrastructure, and for basic funding of core services (textbooks, Internet access). Hardware appears to be available. But sustaining connectivity to Internet (sustainability) takes funding that may not be available in future.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The Deptartment of Meteorology HQ has dial up Internet access on 3 PC's but it is very expensive. The ISP is $65/month unlimited access, but a telephone charge of 150USH/min (0.1 USD/min) is levied. There is thus a large cost for multiple lines. The department is trying to reduce the cost with a wireless connection and an internal network, but the cost is US$10,000 up front and $250/month. The NMC in Entebbe is connected on 14kbps line through the Kenya Meteorology Department in Nairobi. They get some forecast products from ECMWF through this line.
Commercial Internet access in Kampala (Internet cafes) was not cheap and was not fast. Connections were intermittent and by relatively slow modem links. Failures were common for downloads.
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The top levels of the Indian climate and meteorological science community have good collaborations between principals and western researchers or institutes. Joint projects lead to resources and collaborations between senior and junior staff. Many of the top level Indian scientists are western trained or have western experience (post-graduate). Many post-doctoral students study abroad and many of these scientists publish in international journals. This is helped by the fact that English is rarely a problem for these scientists. Internet access is rarely an issue. Most of the world-class research centers visited had dedicated connections, usually from a desktop.
Below this top tier science there are many other universities that do not have the same access to resources or collaborations. Their training and funding levels are not as high, and they are not as well connected. The status and issues regarding Internet access at these institutions is unknown.
The Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune has several large research divisions that study and model monsoons, as well as aeronomy and the upper atmosphere. They are running climate and chemical models. The goal of the modeling division is to run a coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation model. IITM is affiliated with the university in Pune, which has a small number of students. The institute has a large library with 30-40 years of many international journals.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Pune is the second largest center for the IMD after the headquarters in Delhi. There is a large forecasting center, which forecasts tropical cyclones, as well as seasonal forecasting, agricultural forecasts, and ocean forecasts. The IMD National Data Center for Climate Records is located in Pune. The center is digitizing climate data onto CDROM. There are old digitized tapes as well they are trying to migrate forward. Also, the IMD training center, a WMO RMTC, is located in Pune. Training is conducted for IMD staff, as well as for many other countries in the region.
The Physical Research Laboratory (PSR) in Ahemedbabad has 6 research divisions, Space and Atmospheric Sciences is one. Other divisions include astronomy, geology, theoretical physics and physical oceanography. The institute is part of the Department of Space. The institute has students as well as researchers. Many of the groups are quite well connected internationally. It has good computer networks (internal), central file servers and an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer (similar to computers at NCAR with fewer nodes). Researchers publish some work in international journals. The library has an electronic catalog (www.prl.res.in/~library), and many major international journals.
The IBM research institute at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D), has a climate research group. The IBM research center has 60 people, and the atmospheric science group has 4 scientists, paid by the US based computer company.
The Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) has 16 faculty and 35-40 students. Much of the work is done on monsoons, including trends, and predictability and air pollution. The research includes running numerical models as well as analyzing data, both station data from India as well as analysis data from overseas, usually acquired through collaborations or individual requests. Graduate students at the center frequently do post-doctoral fellowships abroad.
The National Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Delhi is a new center that does numerical modeling and medium term (10 day - seasonal) prediction. They have 35 scientific staff, significant computational resources, and are running several global and regional models, some with ensembles. They have numerous collaborations with centers internationally. Their main concern is trying to enhance monsoon prediction using models. They are operationally getting most of the standard GTS data products, but are now trying to get more information to do data assimilation. For these products (e.g. satellite radiances) the data are available but there are bandwidth limitations to receiving the data.
Outside of top tier schools (such as the IIT system) there was concern that India's university system was weak, particularly for research. Original work and development work (for example, of models) is difficult. Universities are not turning out good students in climate/meteorology. Most of the good students are going into information technology jobs.
Journals are available to 'top' centers. IITM and PSR both have large and well used, well organized libraries, with most major journals available. Some journals are missing, and journals are generally 2-4 months behind on the shelves, but common international journals are available. The delay is a minor issue. Cost was a concern for the libraries, most have had to cut back on their journal subscriptions. Some scientists do use electronic journals, mostly for search functions and to find abstracts. In addition, many Indian journals exist, several in English.
Mausam is the official journal of the IMD. It has a long history and is circulated internationally. However, there have been recent troubles maintaining a regular schedule of publication. The slip in regular publication schedules has resulted in Mausam being dropped from several international electronic archives. The new editor is trying to get the journal back on course. It faces a particularly tough time serving the needs of the IMD as well as producing an internationally relevant journal. There are several other top tier Indian journals that many researchers publish in (Earth & Planetary Sciences, Indian Journal of Marine Sciences, Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences). One problem is that in some sub fields (like atmospheric chemistry) there are not enough reviewers for articles in domestic journals.
Cost is a major issue for most scientists when sending articles to an international journal. Only a few of the scientists knew that it was generally possible to get page charges waived. The subject also determines journal selection. Often work is not considered to be relevant. Several scientists commented on a perceived 'reviewer bias' against them when publishing in international journals. This bias might be related to the choice of subject matter. Methodologies in many research articles are often developed or applied with limited access to international journals or to data sources. Modelers have a tough time publishing since they cannot do lots of computer runs. New methodologies, techniques or instruments are often very hard to get developed or funded. It is easier if one conforms to existing norms.
Nonetheless, despite these barriers, top tier scientists view publishing in international journals as important for recognition. This is especially true for younger scientists and those with training abroad. Several reported that their "good" research was sent to foreign journals and that they sent more review style articles to Indian journals. Some good domestic journals exist in India, and these are commonly read and published in. Mausam, the official IMD journal, is probably the best known.
Cost is an issue for getting data. No one seems to be able to get access to data from ECMWF, because they are unable to pay. NCEP/NCAR reanalyses are commonly used. Several scientists noted that they will package NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis data on CD for other institutes in India without Internet access. The NOAA Climate Diagnostics center website is also commonly used. After the September 11th terrorist attacks there was some difficulty in accessing the US government web sites. Some institutes outside of the IMD were concerned that their access to international collaboration is limited.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Internet access in India is relatively widespread for the top tier science community. Internal networks and dedicated Internet throughout research buildings was common. Only senior people had computers in offices, others shared machines. Computer networks included several relatively new supercomputers, and many mini-computers (multiprocessor UNIX machines). India has even built some of its own supercomputers (massively parallel architecture off of standard Intel microprocessors).
Internet on the street varied by location. In major cities in north India, access was quite good. In several more rural locations or in the south, either government security regulations (near the Pakistan border) or frequent power cuts made Internet access more difficult and slower. Dial up lines were common. Big Internet cafes for locals were found in major cities (Delhi for example).
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The Meteorology and Hydrology Service has links with international groups studying mountains. Also there are several active non-governmental organizations working on development and environment issues with some capacity in Kathmandu. The university in Kathmandu offers a BS in meteorology and has a department of Meteorology.
Some climate change research is conducted under UNEP grants, mostly for national communications under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Also, the research division has grant money from the US Country Studies Program to do an emissions inventory and to look at adaptation to climate change in Nepal.
No upper air information exists for most of Himalayan region. Also, data is only received from a few outside stations (Delhi and Darjeeling only). The service would like help for establishing their own upper air networks. They are part of WMO Voluntary Cooperation Program, and would like to get some radiosondes, but they are too expensive to purchase. More development aid in the past meant more data. From 1978 to 1980, upper air data was taken as part of MONEX through a UNDP project.
The service issues 24 and 48 hour forecasts. They use NOAA & GMS satellite data (there is a receiving station for NOAA data). They also use the Indian Meteorological Department website (and satellite images from the Indian satellite on this site). The service would like to get analyses, but currently they get nothing (can't pay for ECMWF analyses). They do get Bracknell Aviation analyses through a satellite distribution system as an ICAO/WMO project. They have received a computer and VSAT receiver for forecast products only.
Some facilities are not operating (for example- a US installed Doppler style radar which has some broken parts and doesn't operate). Major needs are a better satellite data receiver and they would like to get a numerical model. Have several trained people (MS from US universities).
Nepal is currently trying to develop a better hydrological forecasting system. It is easier to get surface stations to report (43 stations in Nepal for rainfall). They want to borrow a model to do flood forecasting. Computers shouldn't be too much of an issue. Training on using a model would be more helpful.
Publications are an issue. There are no resources to pay for journals. Nepal does get some donations: some AMS journals, and the JMSJ from Japan. Most researchers never really look at journals for publishing. When they do, they look to journals that are free to publish in. Most research publication is done personally (no resources are provided for publication). No hydrology journals are received. The Internet is helping. Recently the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) has tried to make articles available on the Internet, some in meteorology/ hydrology, more would be helpful. Most of the time papers can be free, and they can get papers over Internet. Data is mostly self-generated, sometimes they get data from other countries for projects.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Computer facilities are mostly personal computers, Pentium III or Pentium 4. The satellite downlink facility is located at the international airport. The forecasting center at the Meteteorology Department gets satellite data on a land line from Delhi. Synoptic reports come from the GTS on a 56k modem line. Computers are not viewed as a major issue. Internet connectivity in Kathmandu area is good, relatively fast Internet connections (at least for foreigners). A few Nepalis were found in Internet cafes in travelers areas.
LOCATIONS / PEOPLE
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
Thailand has a large number of universities, several prominent and internationally recognized NGO's and a Meteorological Department. Agriculture and hydrology are the foci for much of the research and forecasting work that is done. There is an active university research community, mostly in agriculture, hydrology and forestry.
The Thailand Meteorological Department (TMD) has generally good facilities, and 10 divisions. These include a climate division and a research division. Discussions were held with staff from the hydrology division and the climate division. The climate division has 50 people and 20 researchers. Research projects deal with statistically analyzing 50 years of domestic climate records and forecasting. The TMD has a state of the art forecasting room, and radar data from around the country (but little of the radar data appeared to be operational except for the Bangkok airport). The climate division is trying to use the MM5 mesoscale model, running on a PC. They have downloaded the code from the Internet in conjunction with a Japanese sponsored project and are trying to get it to run. But they do not have initial conditions for it. The TMD has a supercomputer on which some numerical modeling is done.
In general it seems that Internet access and computer infrastructure are not a problem in Thailand (for universities and for the TMD). Submission of articles to major international journals and to conferences appears to happen occasionally for the 'top tier' of researchers well connected internationally. European Journals were the most commonly cited (Atmospheric Environment, Tellus). It is difficult to publish in these journals due to the 'level of data analysis required'.
Access to journals is fairly good. Some researchers have access to electronic journals like the Journal of Geophysical Research. There is an active inter-library loan system in Thailand that works. In addition, a new 'JournalLink' program pools subscriptions and trades journals on loan. Electronic journals work well for professors, but do not work well for students where English is a problem. Sometimes they are just able to get the abstract of an article, or the volume/issue is missing.
In South East Asia, the capability for state of the art analysis is limited. This is probably not a computational problem. Even many of the 'internationally connected' researchers do not have the technical background for some of the analysis. Most work is 'applied', not theoretical. Many western journals publish only 'theoretical' work. There exist a few 'regional' journals as well, on topics such as remote sensing. Several university professors indicated that they are able to request articles by email to authors. A delay of weeks to a month is okay for receiving papers. Getting information, particularly data, depends on the effort of students, as no systematic data collection exists.
Kasetsart University is more concerned with agriculture. They have many English language journals and Japanese journals in English. Few students pay attention to climate change. In general, there is no university level program in Atmospheric Sciences or Meteorology. At Chulalongkorn University, the capacity that exists is under geology (which is transitioning to earth sciences). Chulalongkorn University is getting a staff member for Meteorology (fall 2002). Their major effort is trying to get data, and build collaborations. Currently they have an observatory in central Thailand to do radiation budgets, as well as having a LIDAR (aerosols to 10km) and a low level wind profiler (2-4km). The latter two instruments are from Japan.
A regional flood forecasting system, and active regional research on the hydrology of the Mekong river are currently some of the major work of the START body, with input from several other countries in the region.
Within the region, it was noted that Indonesia has better information and data collection than some other countries due to an influence from Australia. Within countries, there is a huge divide between climate and meteorological services. There is reluctance to incorporate climatological data into 3-10 day forecasting, at least in Thailand.
It was also noted that there are issues associated with the administrative location of the meteorological services in various countries. This affects access to resources and data. Thailand's Met Department is under the ministry of transport. In Bangladesh, it is under the Ministry of Defense (also see discussion under Myanmar). In general the Meteorological agencies seem to be lagging behind environmental ministries/agencies. Meteorological agencies could leverage a lot of resources by moving to climate studies. Weak links exist between climate change and climate variability communities.
Kasetsart University faces a problem with limited understanding of English by students. It is generally not a problem to access data on the Internet. The difficulty in Thailand is the human capacity to use data. Large quantities of data are an issue (for example: model output). One of the big concerns regarding data is the usage policy of data holders in the South East Asia region. Lots of data for climate, hydrology and oceanography is restricted by countries on national security grounds. This is especially true for data collected by militaries (such as oceanographic data collected by the Navy). China, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar are difficult to get data from. Human networks and collaborations can solve the data problem between developing countries. Lists of experts willing to help developing countries might assist with some of the 'global' datasets.
The concept of a special program to assist developing country scientists with data requests was discussed at the START center with representatives from universities and the Thai Meteorological Department. One problem with such a program is that capacity for using data is limited. More capacity has to be built to send students overseas and bring them home to Thailand with PhDs for teaching and research. Most PhD's in the TMD do not teach. For example: the TMD has a supercomputer. But it is under-utilized. Many other countries in the region have better training facilities than Thailand.
The Hydrology division of TMD reports that while flood forecasting has received increased attention, the data collection is still problematic. They have tried advanced telemetry projects for automated hydrology stations, but the equipment at the station was stolen. Also, high humidity and insects/animals/children create instrument problems. They have not gotten the station running on a reliable basis. Only one staff member exists for many provinces. Stations are often sited for political reasons.
The TMD indicated that limited higher education in meteorology/climatology was a significant issue for Thailand. The TMD has a 6 month training course in meteorology, and some WMO support for further training. A majority of forecasters are trained in the department. The limited knowledge of English is a serious limitation on the research division. This is reflected in the quality and quantity of journals in the TMD library. There are very few textbooks in English (or any other non-Thai language) published after the early 1970's. The TMD indicated a need for more scholarships for study abroad. The TMD staff (climate division) indicated that they do not have enough background knowledge to read the journals and understand the methods. Recent journals were particularly difficult. There is interest in Internet training tools or course materials. The TMD hopes to raise standards with scholarships and exchange programs. TMD climate staff are interested in collaborations with foreign countries but do not know whom to contact.
The Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) expressed some more general concerns about research directions in the South-East Asia region. National groups have emerged and climate change has become an excuse to do more general or more traditional 'environmental' work. Also, there is not enough linkage across communities. The problem has been approached from the wrong end. Certain vulnerabilities to climate change do not depend on how much climate change, and are applicable to general climate variability issues (Adaptation to ENSO for example).
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
Internet access in Thailand was not thought to be an issue by anyone. The speed of access was generally quite good, particularly for those with dedicated connections. University and NGO communities seemed to be well supplied with reasonably new computer equipment. The TMD has a new and well equipped forecast discussion room, with multiple monitors and projection equipment.
The cost of commercial Internet access does not appear to be an issue either. None of the people surveyed thought cost was a limiting constraint on access to the Internet. Some concern was expressed over the acquisition of large data sets and the speed with which this was possible. Street level Internet access was relatively fast and inexpensive in travelers areas of Bangkok. Computers we readily advertised as well in newspapers and on billboards.
/ CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The department would like to update meteorology and hydrologystation networks. Currently they are using 25 year old donated single sideband communications system from the USA. 27 World Weather Watch stations exist, and they want to replace old instruments and telecommunications. The GTS system receiver has no print head and they can't find one. GTS data comes to a central government satellite facility, then by phone line to the deparment. 4 upper air stations are listed for Myanmar, but they only get temperature and humidity, not winds from current sounding system. Furthermore, only 1 station is working (Mandalay). No data is sent up to the GTS.
Education and training is a significant concern. It is the second biggest problem after the data collection system. The department still needs skilled professionals (for forecasting and management). There is less professional development in the next generation. Some people have been sent out of the country for advanced training. Want to send more people for post-graduate training. The meteorology department has candidates, but can't get spots or funding. Some more scholarships have been appearing in the last few years.
The department trains lower levels of staff in house with a degree program in meteorology and hydrology. Some people go to regional RMTCs, mostly to the ASEAN science and technology center in Singapore. Also to the Philippines and China (seismology and meteorology). People go to India as well for training in hydrology, instruments and telecommunication.
They cannot purchase books or journals for library, and have to rely on getting WMO and other countries' publications (Journals). Get some AMS journals, JMSJ, QJRMS, plus WMO and IPCC publications. The library contains few journals from the US and Japan and some old textbooks. Also, the library is disorganized.
The department recently purchased a system for doing graphics for TV news. They have their own studio and trained presenters in house to produce a show for TV. The system also can be used for forecasting with several numerical models installed. They need better data link to feed data into models. The system is powerful at communicating to users and raising the visibility of meteorology department.
Research work of the department is limited. Principals do 3-4 research projects a year. Mostly climatology and the monsoons, based on synoptic maps. Also, the department is interested in the impact of ENSO on climate in Myanmar and the monsoon. They have some stations with 50 years of data or more to do climate studies. Most work is published in department or presented at workshops or in domestic science and technology journals. Mostly results are published in English, sometimes in Burmese. There is also some research on hydrology and river forecasting. Hydrologic forecasting is done with an empirically derived statistical model.
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The department of Meteorology and Hydrology does not have Internet access. They are trying to get it from the government. An internal request from Met & Hydro goes to their ministry (transport) and transport has to go to higher level for approval. There is an email account. The department has a small number of computers. Most notable are the graphics system for television, and the satellite download system.
Telecoms: data collection
by Single Side Band (SSB) system
In summary, data collection is the biggest need. Education is a secondary need. The department relies heavily on an outdated GTS system because they do not have the Internet. Internet access is a governmental or political issue (controlling information) not an infrastructure issue. World space receivers are a possible option. Some data needs might be met with web access. Their internal data system also needs re-vamping. A data rescue project seems to be proceeding with extensive climate records.
The Human infrastructure is in better shape, but also aging. Forecasters are capable. Hydrologic forecasting is based on correlations, but works and is continuously developed. No Numerical Weather Prediction is done. There is little capacity to implement it as well, particularly with current data problems. Some research on the monsoon is conducted, published in local journals, sometimes in English. There is no thought of publishing in western journals, though some publications are sent to Mausam (Indian Journal).
Education levels are dropping. In the department, there is only one western educated MS or PhD in last 10 years. They need more advanced degree holders. The issues are scholarships and money as well as the political problem of getting people into programs and allowing people to go overseas.
Computers do not seem to be too much of an issue. A decent internal network exists within the Yangoon campus. But no Internet access is permitted, so there is little need of the machines except for administration.
METEOROLOGICAL / CLIMATE SCIENCE COMMUNITY DESCRIPTION
The Hydrology and Meteorology Service of Vietnam (HMS) is a fairly large organization with several research and forecast centers, including the Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (IMH) in Hanoi, and a South Vietnam Forecast center in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). About 15% of the Hydro Met Service does research. The service is weak on NWP, and forecasts primarily using statistics and synoptic charts. In addition, there is a Department of Meteorology and Climatology at Hanoi University.
The Disaster Management Unit (DMU) of the Ministry of Agriculture in Hanoi is a externally funded (USAID and others) unit that assists in coordinating disaster forecasts. The DMU is implementing a commercial system to do 10 day forecasting. Using a system where model forecast data is sent by satellite (models are US developed MRF and AVN models). The Vietnam Television Network (VTV) has such a system. HMS forecasts of 3 days are not sufficient lead time. The HMS has 5 radar stations throughout the country. The HMS also has a GMS satellite receiver (in Hanoi, then sent to HCMC via phone line, clouds only, degraded resolution). There is also an unused NOAA satellite receiver. Forecasts are not made with numerical weather prediction, but using synoptic and statistical forecasts only (hence the 3 day limit). The big issue for the DMU is tropical cyclones. The DMU gets articles through the Internet, direct contacts or through workshops. Many don't speak or read English, which is a limitation on using journals. Most DMU work published in Vietnamese. Writing in English is difficult for all.
The Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (IMH) has 5 research centers, a training division and about 158 scientific staff. The climate division collects climate data, and rescues old data (CliCom software). They are also involved in climate forecasting applying dynamic models, and are trying to apply the MM5. Initial conditions are an issue for their modeling efforts. The IMH Hydrology division is also trying to apply numerical models. The IMH training division has a Doctoral Program. University faculty (from Vietnam, mostly Hanoi University) are occasional teachers. They would like to invite foreign faculty. Also, they would like to send people abroad for training for 3-6 months. They are developing a program with the Netherlands and Sweden. Cooperation is progressing fast in many areas with the US, but no educational exchange yet. An agreement between the Meteorological services of the US and Vietnam was signed in 2001. They may also train students from Laos and Cambodia in the future.
The meteorological libraries in both S. Vietnam (HCMC) and N. Vietnam are very interesting. The libraries contain mostly old books 'from many years ago' in French, Russian and Chinese, with a few English books. More English books are found in HCMC (all from before 1975). No books are available on more modern techniques (satellite applications to meteorology for example). The libraries are catalogued (physical catalogs) and well organized.
The HMS Hydro-Met data center in Hanoi is digitally adept, but has limited access to foreign sites. The Center IT Director has a bachelors in hydrology and a masters in computer science from Australia. The data center only has data from Vietnam. Data is both digital and in paper logbooks, back to the early 20th century. The Haiphong station is 101 years old as of 2002.
The Hydrometeorological Center for South Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is also part of HMS. It is a research center, co-located with the forecast center for South Vietnam. The center has some dial up Internet lines (the research division, some 50-100 people, has 5 dial up lines), and receives a reduced subset of satellite data and other synoptic data from Hanoi HMS. There is a small Hydro-met college in S. Vietnam associated with the center that assists with education and training. Some of the researchers there have done their higher education in the Soviet Union. One was trained in Ireland on a WMO fellowship. Computer facilities were considered sub-standard. A lot of the problem seems to be lack of training or experience of forecasters in using computer models. Much of the research is centered around forecasting. Trying to get researchers and forecasters talking is a big concern. The library at the S. Vietnam Hydromet center contains works in French, English, Russian, Japanese and Vietnamese. It is mostly disorganized in preparation for a move to a new building. WMO manuals are only old donated copies (full set goes to Hanoi). Get some new WMO publications in HCMC as well. Journal collections are sporadic, mostly from donations.
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology at Hanoi University has 8 staff and 100 total students. There is a small graduate program as well. Most of the students work at the HMS when they are finished. The university is working on seasonal forecasting and modeling. They are running a forecast model (from Germany) in real time to generate 48 hour forecasts, and they would like to get a Regional Climate Model (RegCM) and perhaps a general circulation model (CCM3) running as well. They need to get boundary conditions (analysis data from NCEP or ECMWF) to start running these models. The university has 'good' Internet connections, and 'enough' computer power for running models, including Sun workstations. Most publishing occurs in the HMS journal.
English is a limiting constraint for many researchers in Vietnam. Older scientists generally educated in Russia and speak Russian in addition to Vietnamese. The younger generation is speaking more English.
HMS is beginning the process of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP). The basic problem is manpower- there are not enough educated people to do the modeling. The Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (Hanoi) plans to study the MM5. Hanoi University is actually already running NWP models, with some collaborations from abroad. The climate research center at IMH is trying to do this modeling. Personnel and training are the main issues for applying models.
At IMH the lack of journals was thought to be a problem. The Internet is problematic for getting data, but may improve. The IMH physical connections are bad, but are starting to improve. The IMH staff often goes to the National Forecast Center in Hanoi, which has a faster Internet connection. Staffing levels for information technology are weak. Among the staff of the HMS Data Center (60 people), very few speak English (10-15%). This is a problem with data access since the interfaces for the digital systems are all in English.
At the Hydro-Met center for South Vietnam, there are difficulties in making longer term forecasts due to a lack of data. Indian ocean data is necessary for predicting the start of the rainy season, and upper Mekong River precipitation data is necessary for making accurate hydrological forecasts. The Mekong Secretariat helps in sharing information across borders. How to get timely information about typhoons is another difficulty. Ocean data is lacking, it is difficult to get from outside. Who can run a typhoon model? Use of data was also a problem. They have some CD-ROM data access (e.g. some CD-ROMs of data from the Journal of Climate), but they do not know how to use and access data formats. A training course was desired.
Other issues for the S. Vietnam Hydromet center included journals, the cost of Internet access and English. The second identified concern was a lack of a budget for new publications. Journals cannot be purchased, and it is hard to look at new research results. If electronic access is granted it might be used. However, the cost of Internet access is high compared to salaries. One month of Internet access costs 1.5 million VND ($100) or 3x salary of a Senior Hydrologist Another concern was English. Few researchers/ forecasters are very capable in English. Most people cannot read books in English, therefore few works are used even if obtained. English and the budget were the biggest problem for accessing Journals at the center. Research is thought of as only having local application, therefore it is rarely sent to international journals.
At Hanoi University, the most important issue was thought to be access to research articles. In the near future, data needs for modeling will be a concern, and training is an ongoing issue. The university gets almost no articles and reports on its own, but must rely on collaborators to send specific articles. Publishing in international journals was rarely considered. Research is generally published in Vietnamese with an English abstract. English is one problem, and written English is especially difficult. Some assistance in editing and checking English would help. Most of their work is not considered "original" (second main concern).
Internet access is available in Vietnam, but limited and expensive. High bandwidth access is particularly expensive for organizations. There are 5 ISPs but all are 'overseen' by government agency. Overall access has improved as the backbone network has gotten better tied into the Internet. However, with staff making less than US$ 50 /month, even Internet costs of <US$1 per hour are expensive. Internet access per hour is comparable to the cost of a meal in a local restaurant.
Improvements in access are very expensive. A leased line (T1 or so) would be 28 million VND/ mo for IMH (US$2000) and 60 million VND. mo (US$4,000) for the Forecast Center. Currently the Forecast center uses a slower line for 30 million VND/mo (US$2000). The cost of these lines represents the salaries of many senior staff. The forecast center is the only facility with a leased line. HMS does not have an internal network. In 5 years they hope to have all 5 institutes in Hanoi on line, and then all 9 regional centers.
There are several political issues with the Internet as well. It used to be permission was required to go online to sites out of Vietnam. But it is easier now after normalization of relations with US. More young people use the Internet. Costs must come down to increase use. The government is promoting the use of email. Use of the Internet in HMS is primarily for email. A few use it for information.
English is a major barrier for many. In the southern part of the country, English was not good among most of the staff. It is probable that English speakers have other opportunities. As a result, journals are not commonly read. Publishing in outside journals is not really thought of, work is not deemed relevant and English written skills are not sufficient, even among top staff. Typhoons, hydrology and mitigation of impacts (weather-not climate impacts) are seen as major issue. Some foreign collaborations occur in HMS, but mostly through the international division in Hanoi, and stop when funding runs out. The University in Hanoi seems to have more collaborations and capacity to use models and data. Models and NWP are 'cutting edge' for HMS.
The START secretariat Climate Change Research Center, and the Institute for Atmospheric Physics (IAP) is likely not representative of research in China. Conditions at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in which the IAP is located are much better. Discussions indicated that Shenzen, Shangai, Guangzhou and Nanjing have good universities. Outside of these areas the situation is not good for local colleges and universities, except for Internet 'bars'. A large domestic science base does exist, which is well funded by the government. China has several world class centers, and the IAP is one of them.
IAP is indicative of the highest caliber of research, which is well connected to the international community. This occurs by definition, as the center serves the START network in Temperate East Asia. The physical network infrastructure was supported by a START grant. The center is funded by the Asia-Pacific Network (APN), the START network and domestic sources. Domestic funding comes from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation of China and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The institute has a library with several hundred journals (Chinese, English and German languages). The Chinese Academy of Sciences has a large library. Most international journals are accessible in the library (including Science, Nature and many remote sensing journals). The Internet and CDROM indexes are used to find information. The CAS Library web site (www.las.ac.cn) has extensive on-line catalog and index features in Chinese and English, and is commonly used by scientists.
Many Chinese journals exist. Most work is published in journals, proceedings, reports and books. Chinese scientists like to write papers in Chinese, but this is changing. More high quality papers are sent to international journals. There has been a change in policy to send papers to international journals to enhance the influence of the results. Many scientists need assistance with English however. The institute employs a Canadian scientist to edit journal articles for English language.
Interestingly, young scientists generally have better English skills and do not have difficulty reading papers. Older scientists learned Russian in university. Now English is virtually required. Because of the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, the government is seeking to improve the level of English among students at all levels. In addition, students want to pass the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) to study in the USA.
Scientists complained that data sharing within China is still poor. Data are usually controlled by different groups and individuals. The exchange of data is getting better, and data exchange is being encouraged within regional climate modeling and desertification projects underway by START center. But outside of this project data access is difficult, and integrated studies are difficult.
Major issues for START are GCM output for analysis and ground truth data for regional modeling, especially remote sensing data. Also mentioned were advanced and current satellite data (TRMM and AVHRR for example).
INTERNET CONNECTIVITY/ PHYSICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The START secretariat consists of an administrative facility, a central laboratory and a data network. The physical networks at IAP in Beijing are quite good, consisting of a 16 CPU Silicon Graphics Origin system (UNIX system), with nearly a terabyte of disk storage, and 6 additional workstations.
Internet access is not a problem in the larger cities, according to staff at START/IAP Beijing. This was verified by travels throughout Eastern China. Even in smaller cities (500,000-1 million people), fast Internet access was available. However, Internet access can be intermittent: public Internet access (Internet cafes) was closed for several weeks in the summer of 2002 by central government order. Intermittent censorship is also practiced (blocking of news and information sites, including search engines, is common). This does not seem to be a problem for researchers with Internet access in offices, and using research based web sites. Some direct access to data may be blocked for political reasons by China, or by the data provider (for example to US government web sites). The Chinese claim to have the second largest base of Internet users in the world, expected soon to be the largest. International Telecommunications Union statistics place China 3rd, behind the US and Japan, and just ahead of Germany, but China is likely to pass Japan in the future.
Internet access times were rapid across Eastern China, even from smaller cities. Internet is available but slower in remote areas. However, Internet access in China is better than in many other countries, even in remote areas. Access to several commonly used sites (Internet email sites) was faster in Lhasa (Tibet Autonomous Region) than across the border in Kathmandu (Nepal).
Home | Report in HTML | Report in PDF | Relevant Links | Appendices | Photo Gallery | Contact Information
|The National Center for Atmospheric Research is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.||PO
Boulder, Colorado, 80307
Tel: 303-497-1887; Fax: 303-497-1492