In Africa, weather extremes such as storms, droughts and floods have severe impacts on communities. Every year, high-intensity weather events result in devastating losses of life and damages to land, property and infrastructure.
Improving the accuracy of weather forecasting is critical for people’s safety, and for key economic sectors including aviation, agriculture, energy, water and emergency response.
GCRF African SWIFT aims to deliver a step change in African weather forecasting capability and communication, from hourly to seasonal timescales, to protect the lives and livelihoods of African people while improving the economies of their countries.
GCRF African SWIFT was launched in 2017, and is a £9 million programme led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund. The programme includes partners from universities and national meteorological services in Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and the UK.
Scientists are using weather forecasts to predict the location and scale of impending meningitis outbreaks in sub-Saharan Africa, giving health agencies more time to activate emergency response plans. The approach – pioneered by ACMAD and the African SWIFT initiative – is using weather data to give up to two weeks’ advanced warning of conditions likely to trigger an outbreak.
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