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The JET2000 Project: Aircraft Observations of the African Easterly Jet and African Easterly Waves

Aircraft Observations of the African Easterly Jet and African Easterly Waves

C. D. Thorncroft, D. J. Parker, R. R. Burton, M. Diop, J. H. Ayers, H. Barjat, S. Devereau, A. Diongue, R. Dumelow, D. R. Kindred, N. M. Price, M. Saloum, C. M. Tayor, and A. M. Tompkins

Scientific background and motivation for the JET2000 aircraft observing campaign that took place in West Africa during the last week of August 2000 are presented. The Met Research Flight CI30 aircraft made two flights along the African easterly jet (AEJ) between Sal, Cape Verde, and Niamey, Niger, and two “box” flights that twice crossed the AEJ at longitudes near Niamey. Dropsondes were released at approximately 0.5°–10° intervals. The two box flights also included low-level flights that sampled north–south variations in boundary layer properties in the baroclinic zone beneath the AEJ.

Preliminary results and analysis of the JET2000 period including some of the aircraft data are presented. The JET2000 campaign occurred during a relatively dry period in the Niamey region and, perhaps consistent with this, was also associated with less coherent easterly wave activity compared to other periods in the season. Meridional cross sections of the AEJ on 28 and 29 August (after the passage of a mesoscale system) are presented and discussed. Analysis of dropsonde data on 28 August indicates contrasting convective characteristics north and south of the AEJ with dry convection more dominant to the north and moist convection more dominant to the south. The consequences of this for the AEJ and the relationship with the boundary layer observations are briefly discussed.

Preliminary NWP results indicate little sensitivity to the inclusion of the dropsonde data on the AEJ winds in European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and Met Office analyses. It is proposed that this may be due to a good surface analysis and a realistic model response to this. Both models poorly predict the AEJ in the 5-day forecast indicating the need for more process studies in the region.

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Wassila M. Thiaw, Endalkachew Bekele, Sarah N. Diouf, David G. Dewitt, Ousmane Ndiaye, Marie Khemesse Ngom Ndiaye, Papa Ngor Ndiaye, Nar Diene, Mariama Diouf, Anta Diaw, Siga Diop, Fanding Badj, and Abdoulaye Diouf


Heat is one of the most serious hazards in the world as it affects human health and is extremely dangerous to vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with preexisting cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, and even healthy people with prolonged sunlight exposure during heat waves. As the globe has warmed over the past several decades, extreme heat has become more frequent and intense than ever before, and Africa, especially the Sahel in West Africa, is one of the regions of the world where heat is a major public health concern exacerbated by livelihood activities during the heat season. Yet, there is a major gap in monitoring and forecasting heat waves in Africa. This paper describes NOAA’s role in enabling heat–health early warning in Africa, working with meteorological services and health professionals. Emphasis is on real-time heat wave forecasting at week 2, including the postprocessing of the NCEP model outputs, and providing the information to the meteorological services in Africa to serve as guidance in national heat wave forecasts. In addition, the paper describes the end-to-end process of heat hazard outlooks and translating the forecasts into early action and early planning to reduce heat risk to human health. Furthermore, the paper addresses the very important aspect of capacity development tailored at enhancing forecasters’ skills to prepare and issue heat wave forecasts and training of a cadre of health professionals to work with meteorologists to coproduce heat–health bulletins and to issue heat–health early warnings.

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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


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.

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J.K. Fletcher, C.A. Diop, E. Adefisan, M. Ahiataku, S.O. Ansah, C.E. Birch, H.L. Burns, S.J. Clarke, J. Gacheru, T.D. James, C.K. Ngetich Tuikong, D. Koros, V.S. Indasi, B.L. Lamptey, K.A. Lawal, D.J. Parker, A.J. Roberts, T.H.M. Stein, E. Visman, J. Warner, B.J. Woodhams, L.H. Youds, V.O. Ajayi, E.N. Bosire, C. Cafaro, C.A.T. Camara, B. Chanzu, C. Dione, W. Gitau, D. Groves, J. Groves, P.G. Hill, I. Ishiyaku, C.M. Klein, J.H. Marsham, B.K. Mutai, P.N. Ndiaye, M. Osei, T.I. Popoola, J. Talib, C.M. Taylor, and D. Walker


Testbeds have become integral to advancing the transfer of knowledge and capabilities from research to operational weather forecasting in many parts of the world. The first high-impact weather testbed in tropical Africa was recently carried out through the African SWIFT program, with participation from researchers and forecasters from Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, the United Kingdom, and international and pan-African organizations.

The testbed aims were to trial new forecasting and nowcasting products with operational forecasters, to inform future research, and to act as a template for future testbeds in the tropics. The African SWIFT testbed integrated users and researchers throughout the process to facilitate development of impact-based forecasting methods and new research ideas driven both by operations and user input.

The new products are primarily satellite-based nowcasting systems and ensemble forecasts at global and regional convection-permitting scales. Neither of these was used operationally in the participating African countries prior to the testbed. The testbed received constructive, positive feedback via intense user interaction including fishery, agriculture, aviation, and electricity sectors.

After the testbed, a final set of recommended standard operating procedures for satellite-based nowcasting in tropical Africa have been produced. The testbed brought the attention of funding agencies and organizational directors to the immediate benefit of improved forecasts. Delivering the testbed strengthened the partnership between each country’s participating university and weather forecasting agency and internationally, which is key to ensuring the longevity of the testbed outcomes.

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Paolo M. Ruti, Oksana Tarasova, Julia H. Keller, Greg Carmichael, Øystein Hov, Sarah C. Jones, Deon Terblanche, Cheryl Anderson-Lefale, Ana P. Barros, Peter Bauer, Véronique Bouchet, Guy Brasseur, Gilbert Brunet, Phil DeCola, Victor Dike, Mariane Diop Kane, Christopher Gan, Kevin R. Gurney, Steven Hamburg, Wilco Hazeleger, Michel Jean, David Johnston, Alastair Lewis, Peter Li, Xudong Liang, Valerio Lucarini, Amanda Lynch, Elena Manaenkova, Nam Jae-Cheol, Satoru Ohtake, Nadia Pinardi, Jan Polcher, Elizabeth Ritchie, Andi Eka Sakya, Celeste Saulo, Amith Singhee, Ardhasena Sopaheluwakan, Andrea Steiner, Alan Thorpe, and Moeka Yamaji


Whether on an urban or planetary scale, covering time scales of a few minutes or a few decades, the societal need for more accurate weather, climate, water, and environmental information has led to a more seamless thinking across disciplines and communities. This challenge, at the intersection of scientific research and society’s need, is among the most important scientific and technological challenges of our time. The “Science Summit on Seamless Research for Weather, Climate, Water, and Environment” organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 2017, has brought together researchers from a variety of institutions for a cross-disciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas relating to seamless Earth system science. The outcomes of the Science Summit, and the interactions it sparked, highlight the benefit of a seamless Earth system science approach. Such an approach has the potential to break down artificial barriers that may exist due to different observing systems, models, time and space scales, and compartments of the Earth system. In this context, the main future challenges for research infrastructures have been identified. A value cycle approach has been proposed to guide innovation in seamless Earth system prediction. The engagement of researchers, users, and stakeholders will be crucial for the successful development of a seamless Earth system science that meets the needs of society.

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