Sand and Dust Forecasts Shared with Africa

Sand and Dust Forecasts Shared with Africa

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Published

18 April 2016

The Barcelona Dust Forecast Center has reached an agreement with the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) to share the numerical output of its dust prediction models.

The Barcelona Dust Forecast Center is  WMO’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Center for atmospheric sand and dust forecasts for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It is hosted by Spain’s State Meteorological agency (AEMET) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. It issues daily forecasts which are freely available on its website

The agreement will expand the benefits of the Barcelona Dust Forecast Center’s expertise and models to more sub-Saharan African countries. It will allow ACMAD to develop dust forecast products adapted for African National Meteorological Services, policy- and decision-makers from socio-economic sectors affected by the high incidence of heavy dust events, such as transport and agriculture.

The forecasts will also be an important tool for the health sector given the  correlation between sand and dust storms and respiratory problems, as well meningitis in the extended meningitis belt which spans 26 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia.

Sand and dust storms which have a major impact on the economy, the environment and people’s health and which are expected to worsen as a result of climate change and land degradation.

In response to growing concern about this phenomenon, WMO established the Sand and Dust Storm Warning Advisory and Assessment System (SDS-WAS) to provide timely and quality forecasts and knowledge to users through an international partnership of research and operational communities.

The Barcelona Dust Forecast Center (BDFC) was inaugurated in June 2014. It prepares regional forecasts throughout the year. The model consists of a numerical weather prediction model incorporating on-line parameterizations of all the major phases of the atmospheric dust cycle. It covers the main dust source areas in Northern Africa and Middle East, as well as the main transport routes and deposition zones from the equator to the Scandinavian Peninsula.

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