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Douglas J. Parker
,
Alan M. Blyth
,
Steven J. Woolnough
,
Andrew J. Dougill
,
Caroline L. Bain
,
Estelle de Coning
,
Mariane Diop-Kane
,
Andre Kamga Foamouhoue
,
Benjamin Lamptey
,
Ousmane Ndiaye
,
Paolo Ruti
,
Elijah A. Adefisan
,
Leonard K. Amekudzi
,
Philip Antwi-Agyei
,
Cathryn E. Birch
,
Carlo Cafaro
,
Hamish Carr
,
Benard Chanzu
,
Samantha J. Clarke
,
Helen Coskeran
,
Sylvester K. Danuor
,
Felipe M. de Andrade
,
Kone Diakaria
,
Cheikh Dione
,
Cheikh Abdoulahat Diop
,
Jennifer K. Fletcher
,
Amadou T. Gaye
,
James L. Groves
,
Masilin Gudoshava
,
Andrew J. Hartley
,
Linda C. Hirons
,
Ishiyaku Ibrahim
,
Tamora D. James
,
Kamoru A. Lawal
,
John H. Marsham
,
J. N. Mutemi
,
Emmanuel Chilekwu Okogbue
,
Eniola Olaniyan
,
J. B. Omotosho
,
Joseph Portuphy
,
Alexander J. Roberts
,
Juliane Schwendike
,
Zewdu T. Segele
,
Thorwald H. M. Stein
,
Andrea L. Taylor
,
Christopher M. Taylor
,
Tanya A. Warnaars
,
Stuart Webster
,
Beth J. Woodhams
, and
Lorraine Youds

Abstract

Africa is poised for a revolution in the quality and relevance of weather predictions, with potential for great benefits in terms of human and economic security. This revolution will be driven by recent international progress in nowcasting, numerical weather prediction, theoretical tropical dynamics, and forecast communication, but will depend on suitable scientific investment being made. The commercial sector has recognized this opportunity and new forecast products are being made available to African stakeholders. At this time, it is vital that robust scientific methods are used to develop and evaluate the new generation of forecasts. The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (SWIFT) project represents an international effort to advance scientific solutions across the fields of nowcasting, synoptic and short-range severe weather prediction, subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) prediction, user engagement, and forecast evaluation. This paper describes the opportunities facing African meteorology and the ways in which SWIFT is meeting those opportunities and identifying priority next steps. Delivery and maintenance of weather forecasting systems exploiting these new solutions requires a trained body of scientists with skills in research and training, modeling and operational prediction, and communications and leadership. By supporting partnerships between academia and operational agencies in four African partner countries, the SWIFT project is helping to build capacity and capability in African forecasting science. A highlight of SWIFT is the coordination of three weather forecasting “Testbeds”—the first of their kind in Africa—which have been used to bring new evaluation tools, research insights, user perspectives, and communications pathways into a semioperational forecasting environment.

Open access
William J. Merryfield
,
Johanna Baehr
,
Lauriane Batté
,
Emily J. Becker
,
Amy H. Butler
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
,
Daniela I. V. Domeisen
,
Laura Ferranti
,
Tatiana Ilynia
,
Arun Kumar
,
Wolfgang A. Müller
,
Michel Rixen
,
Andrew W. Robertson
,
Doug M. Smith
,
Yuhei Takaya
,
Matthias Tuma
,
Frederic Vitart
,
Christopher J. White
,
Mariano S. Alvarez
,
Constantin Ardilouze
,
Hannah Attard
,
Cory Baggett
,
Magdalena A. Balmaseda
,
Asmerom F. Beraki
,
Partha S. Bhattacharjee
,
Roberto Bilbao
,
Felipe M. de Andrade
,
Michael J. DeFlorio
,
Leandro B. Díaz
,
Muhammad Azhar Ehsan
,
Georgios Fragkoulidis
,
Sam Grainger
,
Benjamin W. Green
,
Momme C. Hell
,
Johnna M. Infanti
,
Katharina Isensee
,
Takahito Kataoka
,
Ben P. Kirtman
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
June-Yi Lee
,
Kirsten Mayer
,
Roseanna McKay
,
Jennifer V. Mecking
,
Douglas E. Miller
,
Nele Neddermann
,
Ching Ho Justin Ng
,
Albert Ossó
,
Klaus Pankatz
,
Simon Peatman
,
Kathy Pegion
,
Judith Perlwitz
,
G. Cristina Recalde-Coronel
,
Annika Reintges
,
Christoph Renkl
,
Balakrishnan Solaraju-Murali
,
Aaron Spring
,
Cristiana Stan
,
Y. Qiang Sun
,
Carly R. Tozer
,
Nicolas Vigaud
,
Steven Woolnough
, and
Stephen Yeager
Full access
William J. Merryfield
,
Johanna Baehr
,
Lauriane Batté
,
Emily J. Becker
,
Amy H. Butler
,
Caio A. S. Coelho
,
Gokhan Danabasoglu
,
Paul A. Dirmeyer
,
Francisco J. Doblas-Reyes
,
Daniela I. V. Domeisen
,
Laura Ferranti
,
Tatiana Ilynia
,
Arun Kumar
,
Wolfgang A. Müller
,
Michel Rixen
,
Andrew W. Robertson
,
Doug M. Smith
,
Yuhei Takaya
,
Matthias Tuma
,
Frederic Vitart
,
Christopher J. White
,
Mariano S. Alvarez
,
Constantin Ardilouze
,
Hannah Attard
,
Cory Baggett
,
Magdalena A. Balmaseda
,
Asmerom F. Beraki
,
Partha S. Bhattacharjee
,
Roberto Bilbao
,
Felipe M. de Andrade
,
Michael J. DeFlorio
,
Leandro B. Díaz
,
Muhammad Azhar Ehsan
,
Georgios Fragkoulidis
,
Sam Grainger
,
Benjamin W. Green
,
Momme C. Hell
,
Johnna M. Infanti
,
Katharina Isensee
,
Takahito Kataoka
,
Ben P. Kirtman
,
Nicholas P. Klingaman
,
June-Yi Lee
,
Kirsten Mayer
,
Roseanna McKay
,
Jennifer V. Mecking
,
Douglas E. Miller
,
Nele Neddermann
,
Ching Ho Justin Ng
,
Albert Ossó
,
Klaus Pankatz
,
Simon Peatman
,
Kathy Pegion
,
Judith Perlwitz
,
G. Cristina Recalde-Coronel
,
Annika Reintges
,
Christoph Renkl
,
Balakrishnan Solaraju-Murali
,
Aaron Spring
,
Cristiana Stan
,
Y. Qiang Sun
,
Carly R. Tozer
,
Nicolas Vigaud
,
Steven Woolnough
, and
Stephen Yeager

Abstract

Weather and climate variations on subseasonal to decadal time scales can have enormous social, economic, and environmental impacts, making skillful predictions on these time scales a valuable tool for decision-makers. As such, there is a growing interest in the scientific, operational, and applications communities in developing forecasts to improve our foreknowledge of extreme events. On subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) time scales, these include high-impact meteorological events such as tropical cyclones, extratropical storms, floods, droughts, and heat and cold waves. On seasonal to decadal (S2D) time scales, while the focus broadly remains similar (e.g., on precipitation, surface and upper-ocean temperatures, and their effects on the probabilities of high-impact meteorological events), understanding the roles of internal variability and externally forced variability such as anthropogenic warming in forecasts also becomes important. The S2S and S2D communities share common scientific and technical challenges. These include forecast initialization and ensemble generation; initialization shock and drift; understanding the onset of model systematic errors; bias correction, calibration, and forecast quality assessment; model resolution; atmosphere–ocean coupling; sources and expectations for predictability; and linking research, operational forecasting, and end-user needs. In September 2018 a coordinated pair of international conferences, framed by the above challenges, was organized jointly by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP). These conferences surveyed the state of S2S and S2D prediction, ongoing research, and future needs, providing an ideal basis for synthesizing current and emerging developments in these areas that promise to enhance future operational services. This article provides such a synthesis.

Free access