Earth Networks HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020 Recap

  • Oct 22, 2020

Over 600 attendees gathered virtually for the HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020 Symposium

Text that reads "HydrometAFRICA 2020 RECAP" with a stormy desert in the background

Even though COVID-19 has changed the landscape of events as we know it, the show must go on! The Advanced Environmental Monitoring (AEM) family just attended a very important online event: HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020.

What Is HydrometAFRICA?

The HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020 was a 100% online event for weather, water, and climate professionals who care about the region. The 3-day symposium ran from Wednesday, October 13, 2020 to Friday, October 16, 2020.

Professional womansitting at a desk attending a virtual event on her tablet

The entire AEM family was so proud to be part of this event dedicated to protecting lives and livelihoods in Africa from severe weather. This event was a platform for constructive work towards the end goal of building effective and resilient weather enterprise from infrastructure to the last mile.

Weather Challenges in Africa

Like other places in the world, the continent of Africa sees its fair share of weather threats and severe weather events. Home to over 1.3 billion people, Africa should be a priority in the weather data world. Why?

The country is experiencing more severe and more frequent thunderstorms as temperatures rise. Thunderstorms are a big deal because they contribute to two of the biggest weather threats in Africa: Floods and lightning strikes.

Flooding Threats

During the first half of 2020, sub-Saharan Africa weather disasters displaced nearly 2 million people. The map below shows that flooding was the most common severe weather event that results in displacements.

A map showing the sub-saharan africa weather disasters during the first half of 2020

Floods in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan, DRC, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Rwanda displaced approximately 1.7 million people during the first half of 2020.

Lightning Threats

animated lightning in a storm cloud

Lightning also plays a very damaging role in the landscape of African weather threats. It is also very difficult to measure lightning’s direct impact since there is no organized data for total lightning deaths among African countries.

It is estimated that lightning kills thousands each year in Africa, and that tragedy is a daily occurrence. In October 2020, a lightning strike killed a farmer and a pedestrian when it struck in Gauteng, South Africa. In Nigeria during the same month, lightning claimed the lives of two farmers.

But farmers are not the only lightning strike victims in Africa. In August 2020, lightning struck and killed 10 children who were playing football in Arua, Uganda. Back in February in Chire, Mozambique, a cloud-to-ground lightning strike claimed the lives of 9 churchgoers.

Working Together to Build A Safer Africa

The AEM brands take climate resilience in Africa very seriously. Earth Networks is currently working together with USTDA to help modernize sub-Saharan weather forecasting systems and advance climate resilience. One of the countries we’re working closely with is Guinea.

At HydrometAFRICA

At HydrometAFRICA, we spent a lot of time presenting, taking part in roundtable discussions, and having important one-on-one conversations with attendees. During the symposium, we participated in:

  • 3 presentations
  • 3 roundtables


Leah Newman of VIAMO, an Earth Networks partner, joined us on an important Climate Services Roundtable on Tuesday, October 13, 2020. We were so happy to have her there!

VIAMO trusts Earth Networks’ real-time weather data for their live-saving weather alerts delivered via text message. You can learn more about how the 3-2-1 Weather Service works in the below video.

Ari Davidov, Earth Networks Director of International Development, also attended the virtual event. He was the moderator of a roundtable discussion on Partnership Models. This key roundtable included Dr. Mashi from NiMet (Nigerian Meteorological Agency) and several other industry experts.

Besides public safety and government safety, our technology also aids the aviation sector in Africa. Earth Networks works together with ASECNA by providing advanced Early Warning Systems.

AEM – Saving Lives & Protecting Property in Africa

A screenshot of the Earth Networks booth at the HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020 online event

This year, AEM was a Gold Sponsor of HydrometAFRICA. Professionals from Davis Instruments, Earth Networks, and OneRain represented the AEM family of innovators at their booths, presentations, and roundtable discussions. Together, our solutions and expertise can help build a more weather-resilient continent.

The goal of this yearly event is to support the creation of better weather services through capacity building, knowledge sharing and Public-Private partnerships. Each AEM brand did their part to help reach this goal. You can read about how in the sections below!

Davis Instruments

The team from Davis Instruments have a tailored solution for the agriculture industry in Africa. This smart, robust, and adaptable weather monitoring solution for farmers is called EnviroMonitor.

Joel O’Camb, Strategic Account Manager for Davis Instruments, walked the HydrometAFRICA attendees through a presentation on this smart farming application.

Diagram of Davis Instruments EnviroMonitor solution

With EnviroMonitor, farmers can access weather data from their own weather stations or third-party data. The EnviroMonitor interface is an intuitive and comprehensive tool that empowers farmers to:

  • Measure soil moisture
  • Monitor flow meters
  • Track chill hours
  • Create frost alarms
  • Track growing degree days
  • And more!


With real-time data, farmers across the continent can respond to changing conditions and make timely decisions. Not only can they make critical decisions, but farmers can trust that these rugged, easy to install systems are both affordable and easily expandable.

Earth Networks

EnviroMonitor is just one efficient and sustainable development benefitting weather and climate infrastructure and services in Africa.

Jim Anderson, Chair of HMEI and SVP of Global Sales at Earth Networks, also presented at HydrometAFRICA Virtual 2020. In his presentation, he spent a lot of time on the Earth Networks Global Lightning Network.

This ground sensor lightning network, which detects in-cloud and cloud-to-ground lightning strikes, is a brilliant solution for reducing lightning-related deaths and a key component of effective Early Warning Systems.

We integrate this lightning technology into our weather visualization software and alerting applications to help people stay informed and stay safe.

A man looking at Sferic Maps on his tablet


As we mentioned before, flooding is a growing weather threat in Africa. This is partially due to the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). Recently the IOD contributed to a rise of temperatures in the Indian Ocean, which resulted in more rain inland.

Flood Early Warning Systems can help prepare people for flooding and prevent and mitigate disasters.

OneRain’s Charles Yost did a live demo of Contrail at this year’s HydrometAFRICA symposium. You can watch a 3-minute overview of this important flood mitigation software suite below.

Contrail is a powerful solution that allows organizations to set up custom alerts for flooding. This tool is an important part of keeping people in Africa and around the world safe from dangerous flood waters before they arrive.

Learn More

Did you miss our booth at HydrometAFRICA and are interested in learning what the AEM family of brands can do for your organization? Get it touch! Contact the team by clicking the link below and we’ll have the right weather safety expert reach out.


Stay safe!