Meteorologists Brainstorm on Reliable, Accurate Weather Forecast for Africa’s Regional Development

By Frank Momoh

Meteorologists from across the West Africa Sub-region, Mauritania and Chad have stressed the relevance of deploying appropriate framework for a reliable and accurate weather forecast for sustained industrial development and modernization within the African Sub-region.

Speaking at a workshop on: Agro-Hydro-Climatic Characteristics of the Major Rainy Season in the Sudan and Shael Countries including Mauritania and Chad, in Abuja, Nigeria, the DG/CEO of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, said:

“Frequent and sustained interactions between Meteorologists that are gathered to engage in scientific research to produce the seasonal forecast for the region underlines the importance of having a reliable and accurate forecast for the region’s sustainable development in industrialization and modernization.

According to him, it is imperative to develop a framework that can be deployed to independently monitor the forecasts and report back in order to assess the accuracy.

The DG, who was represented by the Director of Weather Forecast Services, Engr. Mailadi Yusuf, said because of the great impact of weather on human life, efforts have been made over the years to improve the accuracy of weather forecasting, which according to him refers to the use of science and technology for atmospheric weather predictions of a given place and time to ensure a better life.

Prof. Matazu, said: “Weather forecasting is done by collecting data on the current state of the atmosphere and applying a scientific understanding of atmospheric processes to predict atmospheric progression with the goal of providing information to people and organizations which they can use to weather-related losses and enhance societal benefits, protection of life and property, public health and safety and support of economic development.”

However, he said it is important to stress that since there is no science yet to enable scientists to collect data from the future, weather forecasts rely heavily on the use of estimates and assumptions which make it impossible to have a 100% forecast.

Also fielding questions at the sideline of the workshop, the Head of Research Department at the Agri-Met Regional Centre, Niamey, Niger Republic, Dr. Abdul Ali, said attraction of experts from across Africa is apt because climate doesn’t know borders.

He added that despite the climatic differences, there is a need for a regional component of data aggregation, explaining that the region’s weather forecast will become stronger, than having one individual country providing its own information.

On the importance of the workshop to farmers, Dr. Ali, said: “After the communication at the forum at the regional level, the country will continue the communication at the country level so they will do an underground job and they communicate their release through communication at the country levels to the farmers and other users.

While reiterating the importance of data collection, he said there is the need for weather experts to focus on data collection to improve the data quality as according to him, data is very important in this process and so: “We need to provide insight to our scientists in terms of data collection to support their climate models to help improve the forecast.”

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