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An initiative for improving modeling, observing systems, data access, and training related to precipitation in Africa

IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
1. Water availability, use and management
Author(s): Scott Swerdlin
Thomas Warner
Rajul Pandya
Fredrick Semazzi
Benjamin Lamptey
Scott Swerdlin
National Center for Atmospheric Research Boulder, Colorado, USA

Keyword(s): Africa, precipitation, rainfall, radar, mesoscale models, education, training
Article:

AbstractThe U.S. University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) has established an initiative whose aim is to further develop infrastructure in Africa related to operational numerical prediction of precipitation and other variables, the observation of precipitation through improved radar and gage networks, the sharing of radar and other data among African scientists, and the education and training of scientists related to the atmospheric component of the hydrologic cycle. Initial efforts include the establishment, in collaboration with the Ghana Meteorological Agency, of an operational atmospheric modeling system for Africa that is based on the community Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. This model has been operational since December 2006, and forecast products are being made available over the web to all forecasters in Africa. Precipitation forecasts will be especially useful for assessment of the threat of floods and for agricultural applications. In addition, weather radars, that provide high spatial- and temporal- resolution estimates of current precipitation, are being rehabilitated and upgraded in West Africa. These new precipitation-rate data that are placed on a network and made available over the web will serve a variety of needs. This paper will describe continuing activities, by UCAR and its U.S. Member Universities and International Affiliate Universities, that involve the development of infrastructure in Africa related to the numerical prediction of precipitation and other variables, the continued enhancement and networking of the radar-based system for precipitation estimation, and the education of local scientists and managers in the effective use of rainfall estimates and forecasts for applications in water resources and agriculture.
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