Mentoring and Exchange between East Africa and the UK

Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) aims to enable a cascading of products and services from numerical weather prediction models from global to regional to national centres, thus ensuring that the best possible information is available to national forecasters (see Cascading Process to Improve Forecasting and Warning Services, WMO Bulletin 62(2), 2013).

By Caroline Bain, Met Office

Implementation of the Project in East Africa has included forecaster mentoring and exchange activities between the region and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK).

Initially, WMO organized daily videoconferences between forecasters in East Africa and the Met Office for the exchange of guidance materials and discussions of the latest satellite and model products. Then, in order to boost the effectiveness of the Project, WMO supported a series of staff exchanges between East Africa and the UK, funded through the Foreign Ministry of Norway.

In spring 2013, forecasters from Kenya Meteorological Service (KMS) and Tanzania Met Agency (TMA) visited the Met Office headquarters to shadow forecasters in the Global Guidance Unit and to interact with Met Office scientists, customer services and public weather service advisors. In February and March 2014, it was the turn of Met Office forecasters to visit Kenya and Tanzania to observe their national forecasting practices and cement the Project’s cascading process.

rwanda Nick Weight of the Met Office and Serge Senyana of Meteo Rwanda

In March, it was also the turn of Meteo Rwanda to visit the Met Office, so Serge Senyana spent two weeks in the UK learning how it delivers world class weather and climate services. Serge commented, “We work closely with our East African partners and Met Office to link weather forecasts to service delivery and to highlight [the] actions to be taken in case of severe weather, so that we can save lives and maintain infrastructure. We do this by predicting the risks of the weather and disasters. I am grateful for what I gained during my visit and will take back the concept of service delivery to Rwanda rather than just science.”

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