Project Structure

GCRF African SWIFT is divided into three strands consisting of several work packages (WPs), which are typically managed by two co-leads (Africa/UK):

  • Strand 1: User engagement and forecast evaluation is responsible for the interdisciplinary engagement needed to link forecast users requirements with the provision of quantitative measures of forecast accuracy.
  • Strand 2: Physical science research will coordinate the scientific research required to deliver quality-controlled weather predictions.
  • Strand 3: Knowledge exchange, training and documentation will deliver cross-cutting activities needed to increase research capability and provide a legacy to the project outcomes.

Strand 1: User engagement and forecast evaluation

Work Package 1: Users

Co-leads: Philip Antwi-Agyei (KNUST) and Andrea Taylor (University of Leeds)

The Users WP aims to provide a stakeholder analysis (providers and users) in each partner country; identify who the users of meteorological information in each country are, and which weather events have the greatest impact on decision-making and activity; identify examples of best practice, evaluate their economic benefits and assess the potential impact of improved forecast information; and identify communication pathways and early warning systems in operation between users and forecasters.

In 2018/19 the SWIFT Users team held Users’ workshops in all four Africa partner countries:

  • Stakeholder Workshop in Ghana, November 2018: Hosted by the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), more information.
  • Stakeholder Workshop in Senegal, March 2019: Hosted by SWIFT partner, Agence Nationale de l’Aviation Civile et de la Météorologie (ANACIM), organised by ANACIM and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), more information.
  • Stakeholder Workshop in Nigeria, March 2019: Hosted by SWIFT partner, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, National Weather and Climate Research Centre (NiMet), more information.
  • Forecast Users’ Forum, Nairobi, Kenya, 30 April – 3 May 2019: Hosted by SWIFT partner, the Kenya Meteorological Agency (KMD), more information.
  • Users’ Engagement Workshop, Kumasi, Ghana, July 2019: Hosted by SWIFT partners, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and GMet, in collaboration with FoRPAC, more information.
  • Users’ Workshop, Tamale, Ghana, August 2019: Organised in collaboration with Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and GMet.

Work Package 2: Evaluation

Co-leads: Elijah Adesanya Adefisan (FUTA) and Thorwald Stein (University of Reading)

The Evaluation WP seeks to determine the best forecast evaluation metrics for data-sparse regions in the tropics; improve capability in forecast evaluation for operational services in Africa; and develop a seamless evaluation methodology to assess forecast uncertainty at all time scales (per weather regime).


Strand 2 Physical science research

Work Package 3: Remote Sensing (Satellite)

Co-leads: Leonard Amekudzi (KNUST) and Alan Blyth (NCAS-AP)

WP3 plans to increase the capacity of applied satellite capability and research by identifying current gaps in satellite knowledge; facilitate the installation of Nowcasting Satellite Application Facility (NWC SAF) products and providing relevant training; and develop a better understanding of tropical convection over Africa using satellite data.

Work Package 4: Nowcasting 

Co-leads: Abdou Lahat Diop (ANACIM) and John Marsham (University of Leeds/NCAS-AP)

The Nowcasting WP aims to provide new knowledge of controls on storm initiation, movement, growth and decay needed to develop effective Nowcasting tools for West & East Africa. Additionally, WP4 plans to provide an evaluated automated product combining satellite observations with NWP model data for nowcasting convection, and train African scientists in its use and development.

Work Package 5: Synoptic methods

Co-leads: Joseph Mutemi (University of Nairobi) and Juliane Schwendike (University of Leeds)

Synoptic meteorology is the key forecast timescale used for responding to HIW events (e.g. storms, floods). WP5 plans to develop a synoptic model for East Africa, evaluate existing synoptic conceptual models over West Africa in NWP models, quantify forecasting ability of synoptic systems in tropical North Africa, and deliver training material for forecasters and scientists on the relationship between synoptic systems and convection.

Work Package 6: Seasonal to Sub-seasonal Weather Prediction (S2S WP)

Co-leads: Bob Alex Ogwang (ACMAD) and Steve Woolnough (NCAS-Climate)

S2S WP aims to identify sources of predictability for African rainfall on sub-seasonal timescales and assess the skill of operational S2S prediction systems. Additionally, the S2S WP aims to build research capability in the UK and Africa to inform the development of operational forecast products on the sub-seasonal timescale for decision making across a range of sectors.

Work Package 7: Convection Permitting (CP) Ensembles

Co-leads: Cathryn Birch (University of Leeds)

The CP Ensembles WP plans to facilitate basic model verifications (linking with the WP2 Evaluation) and further investigate the conditions which increase storm predictability (linking with WP5 Synoptic Methods).

WP7 CP Ensembles News


Strand 3: Knowledge exchange, training and documentation

Work Package C1: Training 

Operational training and university programmes: SWIFT aims to embed research results into operational practice in Africa within the 4-year lifetime of the project. Three training events will be held to bring the collected and consensus knowledge held in the “Forecasters’ Handbook” (WP-M2) to the forecasting communities.

  • International Summer School: Tropical Meteorology of West and East Africa

African SWIFT held its first international summer school over the two weeks, 21 July – 3 August 2019. The summer school was organised in collaboration with the Young Earth System Scientists community (YESS) and was hosted by SWIFT consortium partner, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. Read more.

Work Package C2: Testbeds

As a vehicle to generate sound interaction between academics and operational specialists, we will support three “forecasting testbeds”: intensive, live, real-time forecasting exercises at which weather forecasters from different institutions come together with researchers for a limited period of time to perform operational forecasting. Testbeds are recognised as a key tool to improve weather predictions worldwide, in particular to pull-through research to operations; to critically evaluate NWP and other tools; and to stimulate new research directions. This WP will have crossover with other WPs, particularly WP1 (Users) and WP2 (Evaluation)

African SWIFT plans 3 testbeds:

0-120h (Nowcasting-Synoptic) – 1 collaborative event with WMO SWFDP held November 2018; plus 2 SWIFT testbeds held during spring / summer 2019:

S2S Testbed planned for winter 2019

Final event with user engagement planned for 2021

More information on testbeds

Work Package-M2: Legacy 

WP-M2 is committed to activities which increase the impact and value of the SWIFT project through interaction with partners. This WP is focused on promoting external engagement and facilitating documentation, through the generation of written materials, such as training materials and the extension of the existing Forecaster’s Handbook to East Africa, written by Douglas Parker and Mariane Diop Kane.


African SWIFT Summer School Success in Kumasi Ghana: Congratulations to all the SWIFT Summer School students, thank… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

SWIFT scientists guide important new conversation to advance weather information from operational forecasters reach… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Congratulations to Philip Antwi-Agyei from KNUST, on his African Academy of Sciences research award. One of 21 gro… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

New SWIFT Open Access paper: "The influence of global climate drivers on monsoon onset variability in Nigeria using… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Huge congratulations to African SWIFT Principal Investigator, Professor Alan Blyth who has been awarded the prestig… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…