International Climate Training Workshop for the Sahel

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Experts from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center team conducted a training workshop at the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD) in Niamey, Niger from 17 to 21 July 2017. This twinning activity between NOAA and ACMAD was held to improve regional and national capacities for providing climate services, and to strengthen the collaboration between ACMAD and countries in the Sahel region.

The workshop is part of the Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel project, administered by the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project is aimed at enabling communities, especially those who are most vulnerable to climate-related hazards in the Sahel region, to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability such as floods, droughts, sand and dust storms, desert locust plagues and water shortages. Empowering African countries to generate and use climate information for resilience and risk management is a strategic priority for sustainable development.

During the training session, staff from ACMAD and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of Niger, Senegal and Burkina delved into the products and services currently available through ACMAD, NOAA and WMO, which can be useful for delivering climate services for the Sahel region. The greater part of the workshop was then spent taking a deep dive into two tools: the Geographical Information System (QGIS), which is used for climate information mapping and visualizion, and the Climate Monitoring Tool (CMT), which is used for tracking anomalous climate features, including droughts and heavy precipitation known to negatively impact agriculture and food security.

Participants were enthusiastic about the possibilities for climate service delivery opened by the cutting-edge techniques they learned during the training session, but noted that challenges remained due to limited time for training and internet connectivity issues.

“Learning how to use QGIS gives us the possibility to better present our seasonal climate prediction maps with great precision in the delimitation of regions,” said Ousmane Baoua, a participant from Direction de la Météorologie Nationale (DMN) du Niger.

“The climate tools were very relevant and could help in improving our climate and forecast products,” said Katiellou Gaptia Lawan, Chief of the Meteorological Forecast Division at DMN Niger.

“It is necessary to have a good internet connection (which is lacking at our level) to turn this tool at the end of each decade and to be able to use its products in our analysis,” said Adamou Aïssatou Sitta, Chief of the Applications Division at DMN Niger.

“There is still a lot to be done on capacity building in the region for using advanced tools to process raw climate data,” said Andre Kamga Foamouhoue, Chief of the Climate and Environment Department at ACMAD. “But with this workshop, we now have at least two experts in each pilot country who have been exposed to modern tools for climate monitoring needed to optimize farmers’ operations in cases of droughts and other climate anomalies during the agricultural season.”

As a follow up to this twinning activity, NOAA experts will  automate procedures to help ACMAD reduce the time and internet bandwidth needed to collect and process global products, which are required to deliver regional climate services.

This activity was conducted as part of the “Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel” project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

(The opinions expressed in this news article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the view of USAID.)

For more information on the project please contact: Veronica Grasso at [email protected]

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