Microsoft has partnered with weather technology company Tomorrow.io to support governments, businesses and farmers in Africa to adapt to the growing impact of climate change.
Tomorrow.io is offering governments that currently lack sufficient hydro-meteorological capacity a modernized, cloud-based service in partnership with Microsoft Azure. The offering includes leveraging its satellite constellation to close radar observation gaps, and commercial cloud infrastructure to enable localized, high-resolution weather forecasting models. The primary areas of focus will target climate-resilient farming through agricultural advisory apps and services, helping smallholder farmers optimize their yield productivity.
Microsoft and Tomorrow.io will partner with African governments, empowering existing meteorological agencies to deliver the needed weather intelligence, early warning and climate information and become self-sustained organizations. The collaboration will bring together Microsoft Azure and Tomorrow.io’s proprietary weather intelligence technology to provide a cloud-based solution for climate adaptation and early warnings, starting with African countries. The technology uses Tomorrow.io’s coverage of near real-time data from its multi-sensor satellite constellation, together with an AI-powered, high-resolution global weather model which will be deployed on Microsoft Azure’s high-performance computing (HPC).
In this time of increasing food insecurity, the partners have asserted that increasing the resilience and livelihoods of smallholder farmers is needed to drive increased agriculture productivity including reducing losses in the food production chain. With the increasing impacts of more frequent extreme weather events, the companies find that adaptation and resilience are of crucial importance to the food systems’ transformation.
According to these companies, the need for reliable early warning systems has increased, as the impact of natural disasters due to climate change is increasingly growing and is expected to become more frequent and volatile over the next few years. Their data shows that more than five billion people globally lack access to reliable and actionable weather information, mainly in countries around Africa and Asia. This poses a risk of diminishing crop viability and reduced yields. Crop insurance, which commonly serves as the foundation to industry development, is not practical without trustworthy weather information at the field level.
Kunle Awosika, managing director of the Africa transformation office at Microsoft, said, “We are excited to collaborate with Tomorrow.io to bring climate adaptation solutions to Africa, where there is such an urgent need to address the effects of climate change. Technology has the ability to accelerate the transition beyond sustainability pledges to progress, and collaborations like these are needed to shift the momentum, to build a more sustainable future for all.”
Shimon Elkabetz, CEO and co-founder at Tomorrow.io, added, “The time for climate adaptation is now. It is encouraging that Microsoft is leading by example to prioritize getting the most advanced technology in the hands of those who need it most, and making access a priority above all else. We’re excited to bring this weather intelligence to Africa.”
In doing this, Microsoft and Tomorrow.io are responding to the call for action from António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), who has said, “Frightening heatwaves and other climate events emphasize our growing climate crisis. Closing the capacity on high-quality weather forecasts, early warning systems and climate information is essential to improve protection and build resilience.”