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Nov. 2: Water resource expert to deliver Mather lecture
Water resource expert John Selker (right) installing a weather monitoring station at the University of Theis in Senegal.

Nov. 2: Water resource expert to deliver Mather lecture

Photo courtesy of John Selker

Real-time weather monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa is the topic

Water resource expert John Selker will discuss real-time weather monitoring in sub-Saharan Africa at the John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2.

The lecture will be held in the Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center for the Arts on the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Selker is a distinguished professor in the Department of Biological and Ecological Engineering at Oregon State University. He co-directs the Center for Transformative Environmental Monitoring Programs and the Trans-African HydroMeteorological Observatory organization (TAHMO), as well as the OPEnS lab for new environmental sensing technology.

In his lecture, Selker will discuss his work to establish real-time reporting weather stations in sub-Saharan Africa, including the instrumentation of 500 stations in 18 countries. TAHMO aspires to place 20,000 low-cost weather stations across Africa to make it the most densely observed continent on earth.

Weather forecasts in Africa are often unreliable. This is because the number of weather stations in Africa is limited and often widespread, leaving huge gaps in data across the continent. Selker and his colleagues developed TAHMO to improve access to sustainable environmental climate data, which is essential for food production (agriculture), weather prediction, climate monitoring and infrastructure planning.

Selker also will review a school-to-school educational program designed to help inspire the next generation of climate scientists in Africa through observations made directly at their school, while providing a safe place to locate the weather stations.

At Oregon State, Selker’s research focuses on water resources engineering, with expertise in electronic design, irrigation and water systems, and development projects. He has worked in the United States, Kenya, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Chile and England and conducted research in Chile, Ghana, Senegal, Israel, China and 10 European countries. 

In 2013, Selker was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and received the John Hem Award for Science and Technology from the American Groundwater Association. He is a lifetime member of the American Society for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he was named a distinguished professor at Oregon State University.

Selker earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in agricultural engineering and hydrology at Cornell University.

About the Mather Lecture

The John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture honors the memory of John (Russ) Mather, who served as a professor of geography at University of Delaware from 1963-2003, and as chair of the Department of Geography from 1966-89. 

Sandra F. Mather established the lectureship to honor her late husband by enabling the department to host well-known scholars for the active exchange of ideas related to Mather's broad interests in climatology and geography.

The lecture is hosted by the Department of Geography, which is housed in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

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