Master of Science Students at the University of Rwanda Trained on Nowcasting Tool: NWCSAF

Between 19th August and 4th September 2019 African SWIFT Postdoc Researcher, Bethwel Kipkoech Mutai, was invited to teach the Weather Systems module, as part of the MSc. Atmospheric and Climate Science programme at the College of Science and Technology at the University of Rwanda in Kigali. Through structured regional and international collaborations, the University of Nairobi is one of the institutions that contribute in supplying visiting lecturers and supporting research activities.

Having met the prerequisite course requirements, the twelve students from diverse training backgrounds and with substantial knowledge in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry, were trained on the application of the nowcasting tool NWCSAF to predict tropical weather on very short timescales in Rwanda.

As part of the course work assessment strategy, Bethwel Kipkoech Mutai, prepared a practical on the use and evaluation of nowcast tool (NWCSAF) in hindcast mode for nowcasting of storm movement, growth, decay etc. against (i) satellite data (ii) surface weather over Rwanda.

Students of the MSc. Atmospheric and Climate Science programme.

Provided with satellite images of five parameters taken at 3-hour interval (i.e., at 0400Z, 0700Z and 1000z) the students had to prepare a 6-hour nowcast i.e., the state of the atmosphere from noon onwards and they were required to arrive at the nowcast based on a group-consensus.  The exercise also included the evaluation of other group’s nowcast against what was observed on that day (Rwanda Met/NWC-SAF).

Having benefited himself from the two SWIFT testbeds organized in Nairobi in January and April 2019, this was a good opportunity for Bethwel Kipkoech Mutai to help build capacity on potential future forecast users and providers and a step towards SWIFT objective to embed research results into operational practice.

Aimed at developing sustainable African weather forecasting capability, the Nowcasting work package of the GCRF African SWIFT project investigates nowcasting techniques and the development of systems that can be used by meteorological agencies in Africa to predict high impact weather on very short timescales (0-6 hours). As part of the African SWIFT activities NWCSAF SEVIRI nowcasting products, originally developed for Europe, are being made available for tropical Africa.