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  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society x
  • Peter J. Lamb Special Collection: Climate Variability and Its Impacts x
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Rosalind Cornforth, Douglas J. Parker, Mariane Diop-Kane, Andreas H. Fink, Jean-Philippe Lafore, Arlene Laing, Ernest Afiesimama, Jim Caughey, Aida Diongue-Niang, Abdou Kassimou, Peter Lamb, Benjamin Lamptey, Zilore Mumba, Ifeanyi Nnodu, Jerome Omotosho, Steve Palmer, Patrick Parrish, Leon-Guy Razafindrakoto, Wassila Thiaw, Chris Thorncroft, and Adrian Tompkins

Abstract

Bridging the gap between rapidly moving scientific research and specific forecasting tools, Meteorology of Tropical West Africa: The Forecasters’ Handbook gives unprecedented access to the latest science for the region’s forecasters, researchers, and students and combines this with pragmatic approaches to forecasting. It is set to change the way tropical meteorology is learned and will serve to drive demand for new forecasting tools. The Forecasters’ Handbook builds upon the legacy of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) project, making the latest science applicable to forecasting in the region. By bringing together, at the outset, researchers and forecasters from across the region, and linking to applications, user communities, and decision-makers, The Forecasters’ Handbook provides a template for finding much needed solutions to critical issues such as building resilience to weather hazards and climate change in West Africa.

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Robert A. Clark III, Zachary L. Flamig, Humberto Vergara, Yang Hong, Jonathan J. Gourley, Daniel J. Mandl, Stuart Frye, Matthew Handy, and Maria Patterson

Abstract

The Republic of Namibia, located along the arid and semiarid coast of southwest Africa, is highly dependent on reliable forecasts of surface and groundwater storage and fluxes. Since 2009, the University of Oklahoma (OU) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have engaged in a series of exercises with the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry to build the capacity to improve the water information available to local decision-makers. These activities have included the calibration and implementation of NASA and OU’s jointly developed Coupled Routing and Excess Storage (CREST) hydrological model as well as the Ensemble Framework for Flash Flood Forecasting (EF5). Hydrological model output is used to produce forecasts of river stage height, discharge, and soil moisture.

To enable broad access to this suite of environmental decision support information, a website, the Namibia Flood Dashboard, hosted on the infrastructure of the Open Science Data Cloud, has been developed. This system enables scientists, ministry officials, nongovernmental organizations, and other interested parties to freely access all available water information produced by the project, including comparisons of NASA satellite imagery to model forecasts of flooding or drought. The local expertise needed to generate and enhance these water information products has been grown through a series of training meetings bringing together national government officials, regional stakeholders, and local university students and faculty. Aided by online training materials, these exercises have resulted in additional capacity-building activities with CREST and EF5 beyond Namibia as well as the initial implementation of a global flood monitoring and forecasting system.

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Wassila M. Thiaw and Vadlamani B. Kumar

Abstract

Drought is one of the leading causes of death in Africa because of its impact on access to sanitary water and food. This challenge has mobilized the international community to develop famine early warning systems (FEWS) to bring safe food and water to populations in need. Over the past several decades, much attention has focused on advance risk planning in agriculture and water and, more recently, on health. These initiatives require updates of weather and climate outlooks. This paper describes the active role of NOAA’s African Desk in FEWS and in enhancing the capacity of African institutions to improve forecasts. The African Desk was established in 1994 to provide services to U.S. agencies and African institutions. Emphasis is on the operational products across all time scales from weather to climate forecasts in support of humanitarian relief programs. Tools to provide access to real-time weather and climate information to the public are described. These include the downscaling of the U.S. National Multimodel Ensemble (NMME) to improve seasonal forecasts. The subseasonal time scale has emerged as extremely important to many socioeconomic sectors. Drawing from advances in numerical models, operational subseasonal forecasts are included in the African Desk product suite. These capabilities along with forecast skill assessment, verifications, and regional hazards outlooks for food security are discussed. Finally, the African Desk residency training program, an effort aimed at enhancing the capacity of African institutions to improve forecasts, and supported by this seamless approach to operational forecasting, is described.

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