Project Structure

GCRF African SWIFT is divided into three strands consisting of several work packages, 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 user engagement with the provision of quantitative measures of forecast accuracy.
  • Strand 2: Physical science research will coordinate the disciplinary 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:

WP-R1: Users

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

The users group 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.

WP-R2: 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:

WP-R3: Remote Sensing (Satellite)

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

WP-R3 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.

WP-R4: Nowcasting 

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

Nowcasting 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, WP-R4 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.

WP-R5: Synoptic Methods

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

Synoptic meteorology is the key forecast timescale used for responding to HIW events (e.g. storms, floods). The WP 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.

WP-R6: Seasonal to sub-seasonal Weather Prediction (S2S WP)

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

This 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.

WP-R7: Convection Permitting (CP) Ensembles

Co-leads: Cathryn Birch (University of Leeds)

The CP Ensembles WP plans to facilitate basic model verifications (linking with the WP-R2 Evaluation) and further investigate the conditions which increase storm predictability (linking with WP-R5 Synoptic Methods).

Strand 3:

WP-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.

WP-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 WP-R1 (Users) and WP-R2 (Evaluation)

SWIFT proposes three testbeds:

  • 0-120h (Nowcasting-Synoptic)
  • S2S
  • and a final event with user engagement.

WP-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.


Congratulations Hellen Elimo Msemo and Michael Baidu who have been awarded SWIFT PhD studentships to start October……

Two @african_swift PhD studentships available at @UniversityLeeds to start this autumn. Deadline 30 June 2018. Come……

GCRF African SWIFT This week in Nairobi SWIFT team meet with team of early career scientists, to discuss their care……

This week KMD Nairobi host African SWIFT partners for inaugural meeting of SWIFT Advisory Board and SWIFT Exec. ANA……

African SWIFT Kenya partners @african_swift report on heavy rainfall and flooding in Kenya….……