Testbed 3: Synoptic & Nowcasting

The African SWIFT Synoptic Forecasting and Nowcasting Testbed is the first of its kind in tropical Africa, and is a unique opportunity for forecasters and researchers to come together in a quasi-operational environment to test and evaluate new tools and methods for forecasting weather, including high-impact weather, on time scales from a few hours to a few days. Currently weather forecast models have little to no skill in forecasting tropical rainfall on these timescales, but the new approaches being trialed in the testbed have potential to bring real improvements in forecasts.

In Testbed 1, our team spent several weeks in early 2019 forecasting and nowcasting around the clock in Nairobi, Kenya. African SWIFT researchers and forecasters collaborated to test the use of satellite-based systems for nowcasting — predictions of rainfall in the coming hours, based on the current conditions — and very high-resolution weather forecasting models for high-impact weather forecasts. Both demonstrated potential for significant improvements in high-impact weather warnings and general rainfall forecasts.

Testbed 3, hosted by ANACIM in Dakar, Senegal in 2021, expands on the knowledge from Testbed 1 while working with specific user groups to tailor forecasts to their needs. The testbed aims to deliver real improvement, not just in forecast quality, but also in how useful the information provided is to specific users including disaster management agencies, water resources organisations, fishers, and the public.

Key Dates

  • 17 – 28 May 2021: Testbed 3 Pre-Event & Training
  • 6 – 20 September 2021: Testbed 3 Official Event

*All Testbed 3 events will be held virtually or partially virtually if COVID-19 safety cannot be assured.

Testbed News

Satellite observations hold key to Africa’s short-range weather forecasts

By Dr Peter Hill, University of Reading New research demonstrates that satellite observations across Africa can be used to provide valuable forecasts of storm evolution in subsequent hours. Large populations in tropical Africa are vulnerable to severe weather, often caused by intense storms that can generate heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding. Forecasts can be…

Continue Reading Satellite observations hold key to Africa’s short-range weather forecasts

New research will improve early warning of devastating megastorms

With files from Simon Williams, UK CEH Ground-breaking scientific research will make it easier to predict the path of some of the world’s most powerful storms, enabling communities to better protect themselves from severe flooding. Mesoscale convective systems (MCSs) are ‘megastorms’ that affect large parts of the world, including Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas,…

Continue Reading New research will improve early warning of devastating megastorms