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Strengthening capacity for climate science in Africa

Focused collaborative research is essential for building predictive capability and practical tools

Strengthening African science capacity through research fellowships and knowledge transfer.

Key activities in capacity development included the following: a CSRP-1 fellowship scheme for African climate scientists and practitioners; three climate science workshops; capacity development activities at African Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs) and knowledge sharing.

CSRP-1 fellowship scheme: Eleven African climate scientists at African institutes were awarded fellowships to work with Met Office scientists on CSRP-1 research themes. The fellowships covered regional interests across Africa: with 4 fellowships in each of West and East Africa, 2 in southern Africa and 1 in central Africa. Activities included a one-month induction visit to the Met Office, engagement with relevant groups at UK universities, presentations at international climate conferences and a final CSRP-1 assembly held at CCDA-II. All 11 fellows published a summary of their work in the first WCRP African Newsletter (November 2012); 8 expanded these summaries into final reports and 3 have submitted their work for peer-review publication (with 1 so far accepted for publication).

Climate science workshops: In response to the stakeholder consultation two 2-week climate science workshops on the theme of "Appreciation and use of dynamical seasonal forecasts" have been successfully delivered, one in East Africa and one in West Africa. The participants were NMHS representatives from nearly all of the countries participating in the RCOFs of these regions (10 in the GHA, 18 in West Africa). In feedback all participants agreed or strongly agreed they felt more confident in using dynamical forecasts in preparing their national seasonal forecasts - and this is expected to feed through into improved forecast quality. The training was essential background to enable prudent interpretation of the trial onset forecasts developed in CSRP-1.

Capacity development activities at African Regional Climate Outlook Forums (RCOFs): CSRP scientists have participated in 14 RCOFs since 2010. The RCOFs have been key opportunities to start to pull through into use both the science outputs and knowledge management outputs of CSRP-1. They have: 1) enabled the training given at the workshops to be reinforced and put into action in a real-time seasonal forecast situation; 2) enabled the new experimental season onset products, generated with the improved HadGEM3 system, to be introduced; 3) provided an opportunity to brief African stakeholders on CSRP results such as new understanding on the West African monsoon and results of the attribution study showing human influence on the severe Greater Horn of Africa drought 2011.

Knowledge sharing: In addition to the above, CSRP-1 results have been published in over 30 articles/papers of which 14 are in peer-reviewed journals, with further papers submitted or in preparation. Technical results have been shared with the climate and impacts community in presentations at over 40 international conferences, as well as at major policy forums such as COP17 and COP18 and all 3 CCDA conferences. CSRP-1 data and results have been made available to 26 African collaborators using collaboration web pages. A comprehensive website detailing CSRP-1 objectives and results has been maintained at .

Capacity development and knowledge sharing experience under CSRP-1 has contributed to continued improvement of climate services. For example, foundation training under CSRP-1 has assisted Meteo Rwanda to implement, for the first time, a monthly updating 3-month-ahead seasonal forecasting service.

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