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  • Author or Editor: Vadlamani B. Kumar x
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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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