Between 7th and 25th October 2021, 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 twenty-five (21) 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.
Borrowing on the standard operating procedures (SOPs) prepared for the SWIFT Testbed 3 (25th October to 5th October 2021), the students were grouped into synoptic analysis (1 group) and nowcasting groups (4 groups). The synoptic view of the weather was to be obtained through analysis of the provided MSLP charts. For nowcasting, the students were required to retrieve and analyze the following NWCSAF products from GCRF AFRICAN SWIFT Nowcasting Catalogue at 07Z, 10Z and 13Z over East Africa:
•Wind Analysis Group: Wind Barbs
•Cloud Analysis Group: Cloud Type and Cloud Top Temperature
•Thunderstorm/PPT Group: Rapidly Developing Thunderstorms and Chance of Precipitation
•Observation Group: Rwanda Meteo Agency
A 3-hour and 6-hour nowcasts based on the analyses will then be made by 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 previous 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.