African SWIFT collaborate with WMO-Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project

From 20-30 November 2018, in Lomé, Togo, African SWIFT are collaborating with the first World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project for West Africa (SWFDP-West Africa) training workshop on severe weather forecasting and delivery of warning services.

The training programme has been developed jointly by WMO and African SWIFT in consultation with contributing partners. Experts from global and regional centres (e.g. ECCC, Météo-France, NOAA/NCEP, RSMC – ANACIM, Dakar, ACMAD, AGRHYMET Centre), as well as from SWIFT partners at the University of Leeds, the Federal University of Technology Akure, (FUTA), ACMAD and Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) will contribute to the workshop as lecturers. Participants from SWIFT Kenya partners (University of Nairobi and KMD) will share their practical experience of the successful SWFDP project in Eastern Africa.

Week 1 of the workshop is focused on forecasting techniques, interpretation of Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) products and satellite based information, and its best use in severe weather forecasting. Week 2 looks at public weather services e.g. determination of service delivery gaps, dissemination channels, impact-based forecast and warning services, introduction to the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard for dissemination of warnings, and working with the media and with Disaster Management and Civil Protection Authorities.

Operational forecasters and public weather services (PWS) staff from 15 National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) across the sub-region are attending, including from Cabo Verde, Guineas-Bissau, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. SWIFT participants attending include forecasters, academics, researchers and lecturers from the SWIFT African partner countries (Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya). The workshop brings together SWIFT forecasters and researchers to learn and develop standard forecasting techniques that will be further developed in the SWIFT testbeds in 2019.

From SWFDP, SWIFT and PWS perspective, the main aims of the workshop are:

  • To introduce participants to the available NWP and Guidance products through SWFDP-West Africa and to develop capacity on their interpretation and best use in forecasting; to prepare participants for the demonstration phase of SWFDP-West Africa in early 2019.
  • To introduce forecasters to the latest techniques for West African synoptic forecasting and nowcasting and to introduce researchers to the challenges and methods of operational forecasting; to apply these techniques to new case-studies, which will encourage forecaster-researcher dialogue and to develop training tools for future training.
  • To engage the forecasters and PWS staff with users (e.g. from DMCPAs, media, agriculture) to improve delivery of warnings and services and to improve dissemination of warning through various channels of communication including websites and social media.
  • To introduce impact based forecasting and warning (IBFW) services.

The workshop is convened at the kind invitation of the Government of Togo and has received funding support from the Climate Risk and Early Warnings Systems (CREWS) Initiative.