Real-time access to sub-seasonal forecasts in Africa

In this ECWMF newsletter article, Dr Linda Hirons writes about Testbed 2 and the importance of access to data. 

Enjoy this short excerpt or follow the link below to read the full article.

Having real-time access to sub-seasonal forecast data from ECMWF has been transformational for African meteorological agencies. It has enabled the co-production of new bespoke forecast products with users to support their decision-making in a variety of sectors. They range from health metrics – combining temperature, relative humidity and wind to support predictions of meningitis outbreaks across the Sahel – to precipitation forecasts supporting hydropower planning – leading to reduced use of diesel and uninterrupted energy production in Kenya. Providing these forecast tools, tailored to the decision-making context of users, has supported preparedness action in areas where peoples’ lives and livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to weather related extremes.

Recent advances in the understanding of sources of sub-seasonal predictability (e.g. the Madden–Julian Oscillation), and their predictive skill across Africa, have the potential to improve preparedness action and early warning of high-impact weather. However, across much of sub-Saharan Africa forecast information on these timescales is either unavailable or existing tools are inappropriate for effective action-based forecasting.