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Rajul Pandya
,
Abraham Hodgson
,
Mary H. Hayden
,
Patricia Akweongo
,
Thomas Hopson
,
Abudulai Adams Forgor
,
Tom Yoksas
,
Maxwell Ayindenaba Dalaba
,
Vanja Dukic
,
Roberto Mera
,
Arnaud Dumont
,
Kristen McCormack
,
Dominic Anaseba
,
Timothy Awine
,
Jennifer Boehnert
,
Gertrude Nyaaba
,
Arlene Laing
, and
Fredrick Semazzi

Abstract

Understanding and acting on the link between weather and meningitis in the Sahel could help improve vaccine distribution and save lives. People living there know that meningitis epidemics occur in the dry season and end after the start of the rainy season. Integrating and analyzing newly available epidemiological and meteorological data quantified this relationship, showing that that the risk of meningitis epidemics climbed from a background level of 2% to a maximum risk of 25% during the dry season. These data also suggested that, of all meteorological variables, relative humidity has the strongest correlation to cases of meningitis.

Weather acts alongside a complex set of environmental, social, and economic drivers, and a complementary investigation of local and regional knowledge, attitudes, and practices suggested several additional interventions to manage meningitis. These include improved awareness of early meningitis symptoms and vaccinations for farmworkers who migrate seasonally. An economic survey showed that the cost of a single case of meningitis is 3 times the average annual household income, underscoring the need for improved vaccination strategy.

Using these insights, meteorologists and public health workers developed a tool to guide vaccination decisions. Iterative development allowed a multinational team of public health officials to use the tool while guiding its refinement and directed research toward maximum practical use. That meant focusing on predicting areas where high humidity would naturally end epidemics so vaccines could be moved elsewhere. Using this tool and this approach could have prevented an estimated 24,000 cases of meningitis over a 3-yr period.

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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
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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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Melvyn Shapiro
,
Jagadish Shukla
,
Gilbert Brunet
,
Carlos Nobre
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Michel Béland
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Randall Dole
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Kevin Trenberth
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Richard Anthes
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Ghassem Asrar
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Leonard Barrie
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Philippe Bougeault
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Guy Brasseur
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David Burridge
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Antonio Busalacchi
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Jim Caughey
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Deliang Chen
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John Church
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Takeshi Enomoto
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Brian Hoskins
,
Øystein Hov
,
Arlene Laing
,
Hervé Le Treut
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Jochem Marotzke
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Gordon McBean
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Gerald Meehl
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Martin Miller
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Brian Mills
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John Mitchell
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Mitchell Moncrieff
,
Tetsuo Nakazawa
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Haraldur Olafsson
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Tim Palmer
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David Parsons
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David Rogers
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Adrian Simmons
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Alberto Troccoli
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Zoltan Toth
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Louis Uccellini
,
Christopher Velden
, and
John M. Wallace

The necessity and benefits for establishing the international Earth-system Prediction Initiative (EPI) are discussed by scientists associated with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) World Weather Research Programme (WWRP), World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP), Global Climate Observing System (GCOS), and natural-hazards and socioeconomic communities. The proposed initiative will provide research and services to accelerate advances in weather, climate, and Earth system prediction and the use of this information by global societies. It will build upon the WMO, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) to coordinate the effort across the weather, climate, Earth system, natural-hazards, and socioeconomic disciplines. It will require (i) advanced high-performance computing facilities, supporting a worldwide network of research and operational modeling centers, and early warning systems; (ii) science, technology, and education projects to enhance knowledge, awareness, and utilization of weather, climate, environmental, and socioeconomic information; (iii) investments in maintaining existing and developing new observational capabilities; and (iv) infrastructure to transition achievements into operational products and services.

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