Rwanda launches Medusa, the first climate observatory instrument of its kind in Africa

By Samson Iradukunda
On 13 January 2019 at 09:30

The University of Rwanda has launched Rwanda Climate Observatory equipped with Medusa, a highly professional instrument used in climate and meteorological observations which is the first of its kind in Africa. Medusa can trace and measure 50 greenhouse gases.

The launch of the Observatory operating in the University of Rwanda’s College of Science and Technology (CST) will serve to provide data related to meteorology, climate change, and solar intensity among other operations.

Rwanda Climate Observatory is under Rwanda-MIT Climate Observatory Project implemented by Rwanda’s Ministry of Education in partnership with Massachusetts Institute (MIT) in order to develop a world-class research program in Rwanda and build the capacity of climate change, air pollution and meteorology.

Efforts to set up the observatory were inspired by President Paul Kagame’s visits to USA in 2008 and 2009 looking for ways to enhance science and technology and Rwanda chose MIT as the implementation partner.

The project saw Rwandan graduates from the University of Rwanda go to be trained at MIT as it was requested by President Kagame.

Rwanda-MIT Climate Observatory Project’s first phase started operating in 2011 while technical instruments were first placed at sites in 2013. The project is worth $2 million.
The observatory has four technicians who operate at Mugogo Mount in Nyabihu District where more instruments measuring the climate locate.

Dr. Jimmy Gasore, a lecturer at the College of Science and Technology, who is also the Station Chief Scientist at Rwanda Climate Observatory, said Medusa started atmospheric data measurements worldwide since 1979 being used by the researchers’ team founded following the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

“This instrument [Medusa] has played a paramount role in measuring the greenhouse gases. We are now happy as it will help us get data on air pollutants and see if we are reducing the production and consumption of greenhouse gases [known as hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs)] and plan accordingly,” Dr. Jimmy Gasore.

“It is the first time for Medusa to be in Africa and they are only twelve elsewhere in the world; in atmospheric research centers and in universities,” he said.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Eugene Mutimura, who officiated the launch of the Observatory, said the observatory was set to measure climate change and atmospheric causes behind it.

“It is a very good step because it helps us know what to do to implement strategies taken by Rwandan Government to reduce greenhouse gases that pollute the air,” Dr. Eugene Mutimura said.

Education Minister, Dr. Eugene Mutimura officiated the launch of Rwanda Climate Observatory with Medusa