African Weather Balloon Project Using Blockchain for Tracking Climate

The findings of one study have revealed that 91% of the deaths that were recorded between 1970 and 2019 due to natural disasters were recorded in developing countries. The study also added that such a high number of deaths is mostly because of the absence of early warning systems of this disaster, along with a lack of disaster management protocols. It has been proven that technological improvements can make a big difference and reduce the number of lives that are lost due to cyclones or flooding. Unfortunately, there is poor access to centralized data in third-world countries that can be used for predicting weather patterns. 

This means that the number of lives that are lost because of natural disasters remains on the high side. It is because of these conditions that pushed creators of the Telos protocol and people behind the Kanda Weather Balloon project to come together for finding an unusual solution to this problem; using blockchain technology. This project is already empowering university students in Africa to use the Telos blockchain for offering a viable solution for the absence of historical and real-time climate data in West Africa, as they can build a balloon network owned by the community. 

According to those who support the Kanda Weather Balloon project, collecting data this way would allow communities to prepare also be able to recover from severe weather conditions. The chief engineer of Kanda and a former software engineer for Boeing, Nicolas Lopez provided insight into this project. He said that it was important to make upper-air observations with in-situ sensors because there isn’t a lot of data available in this regard. Values near the ground can be measured with weather satellites, but they don’t do so well in the middle of the atmosphere. Data of up to 35,000 feet or higher is required by most weather models for making good predictions about climate and rainfall.

Lopez said that the lack of this data means that models make false assumptions and have poor performance, particularly in West Africa. Therefore, the Telos blockchain can come in handy in this situation because it can store the data collected from their balloon launches. The use of outdated depositories, along with NOAA’s funding constraints already make it difficult to obtain weather data. He said that the blockchain offers 100% uptime and the storage costs are also very low for a small amount of data. Furthermore, he added that the smart contracts on the Telos blockchain enable them to give digital currency ‘mining’ rewards to those who launch the balloon in real-time. 

He said that the term ‘mining’ was used because elevation causes the atmospheric pressure to fall and someone on the ground cannot fake it easily. This is very similar to how it is not possible to fake bitcoin hashes. When lower pressure values are measured by the sensor, it realizes that the balloon has been launched and Telos currency is sent accordingly. Telos already has active communities in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya and it was also listed on Kucoin recently.