NOAA celebrates 25 years of developing climate services in Africa

May 20th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

Twenty five years ago Africa was faced with severe drought, resulting in famine across the continent and challenges for governments as they struggled to cope with the disaster. In response, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) pioneered the African Desk – a US contribution to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Voluntary Cooperation Program – to help improve meteorological services so that African governments could develop plans to mitigate the impacts of drought on society.

Wassila Thiaw in NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center discussing the work of the Africa Desk during a briefing with international partners on 29 April 2019.

Wassila Thiaw in NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center discussing the work of the Africa Desk during a briefing with international partners on 29 April 2019.

Today, NOAA welcomes visiting meteorologists and physical scientists from around the globe to the CPC International Desks, which provide access to real-time regional weather and climate information around the world. This innovative, international training approach helps partner countries from around the developing world implement climate services and tools through access to free, open and unlimited data provided by NOAA.

The African Desk team at CPC works with all 54 countries in Africa and beyond to help international colleagues build the capacity to access weather and seasonal forecast information and real-time, operational model guidance. In addition, the team contributes rainfall and climate products to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance and the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS Net) to help plan for and respond to disasters and humanitarian crises in Africa.

Since its inception in 1994, CPC’s team lead for the International Desks, Wassila Thiaw, has guide the African Desk programme and expanded its capacity. “In addition to developing new tools to improve our services to agriculture, food security and disaster risk reduction, we are working to build partnerships and to reach out to the health sector, one of the pillars of the WMO Global Framework for Climate Services,” he said.

As they look towards the future, CPC’s International Desks are exploring the development of online tutorials for climate monitoring and prediction to foster distance learning and reach even more professionals around the world.

Contact NOAA, wrn.feedback@noaa.gov

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