Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Modern Weather Forecasting: Exploring the Linkages

Author(s): C.Makwara Enock

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Abstract: Since time immemorial indigenous knowledge systems (IKSs) were used by societies in Africa and the rest of the world for various purposes depending on the needs of the society in question. Wherever humans have settled around the world, being able to predict weather has been necessary since man has never been a passive recipient of environmental bonuses and controls. Knowledge about past disasters and climate in Africa are the accumulated experiences that have been handed down to generations through oral traditions. There is, therefore, need to investigate how traditional knowledge systems can be integrated into agricultural activities in order to minimise losses associated with extremes of climate and weather. The study was, therefore, undertaken with a twin set of objectives. The first objective was to identify, analyse and document local indicators used in IK forecasting over the study area. The second was to assess perceptions of the local communities on the application and reliability of both IK and conventional forecasting in their daily lives  in order to identify the gaps and the needs for improvement .In this study, it is argued that IK can provide significant value and boosts in the improvement of forecasting accuracy and reliability if it will be systematically researched ,documented and subsequently integrated in conventional forecasting system .The results of the research could be useful in conjunction with weather forecasting information from the meteorological office to improve the timing of agricultural operations and disaster management activities.

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