Transformation of African weather services is achievable in the next five years if the right action is taken, according to a new paper from the GCRF African SWIFT project.
Improved forecasting is important in Africa, where many people’s lives and livelihoods are closely associated with the weather. Areas including agriculture, energy and fishing would greatly benefit from better forecasts.
Forecasts can also help with the response to extreme weather events, such as the recent floods in Nigeria, or tropical cyclones throughout the continent. This is particularly important as extreme weather is set to increase due to climate change.
The paper has been published in the Bulletin for the American Meteorological Society.
The authors propose four steps to achieve a transformation of the quality and impact of weather services in Africa and emphasize the need for the international community to be proactive while also recognising the challenges involved.
The four steps given in the paper are:
- Improving scientific understanding of African forecasts with modern meteorological knowledge;
- Closer engagement between forecasters and their clients, in the co-production of new services to meet the clients’ needs;
- Transparent, systematic and independent evaluation of weather information, to improve services, justify investment and allow customers to judge competing products; and
- Building the skills of African meteorologists, to take ownership of the co-production of services, by investment in cooperation between universities and forecasting centres within Africa.
The SWIFT team hope that papers such as this one will give clear and informed advice to decision makers about the potential for significant improvements in African forecasting capacity.
The report has been developed from the white paper published by SWIFT last year, where authors stated their vision for the future of African forecasting.
The paper The African SWIFT Project: Growing Science Capability to Bring about a Revolution in Weather Prediction is published in the Bulletin for the American Meteorological Society