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Climate modelling training in Tanzania

Thanks to Met Office training and technology, experts in Tanzania and Malawi are now able to conduct climate change projections to the year 2099.

The Met Office has had a long, strong relationship with the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA). The Met Office has been involved in various capacity building projects in Tanzania, including installing a TV weather studio with funding from the Voluntary Cooperation Programme (VCP) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Around three years ago, with funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Met Office conducted an analysis of the TMA and how the Met Office could help it develop its services. The analysis involved Met Office International Business Development Manager, Tim Donovan, visiting Tanzania to further develop the relationship with TMA.

During the visit, Tim also developed a relationship with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in Tanzania. DFID funds a variety of projects which aim to reduce poverty and hunger. These aims have strong relevance to climate and climate resilience. For instance, in Africa, farmers rely on yearly rains. If it doesn't rain, crops can fail, which can have fatal consequences. Improved forecasts mean that farmers can plan ahead for better crop management.

As result of Tim's analysis, DFID has since funded the Met Office to provide specialist advice to TMA. As Tim explains: "Working as trusted partners with TMA in training, mentoring and transferring knowledge, the Met Office has helped TMA create better forecasts which means people in Tanzania have received better advice.

A capacity building project in 2014 demonstrated the effectiveness of the partnership, improving the TMA's service through successful projects. Work is now underway to prepare for further projects.

Running in tandem with the capacity building projects, the climate modelling training delivered in Tanzania is funded by the WMO's ongoing Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) pilot project in Tanzania and Malawi. The training involved guiding TMA experts in using PRECIS (Providing Regional Climates for Impacts Studies), a regional climate modelling system developed at the Met Office Hadley Centre. PRECIS runs on a Linux-based PC and can be applied to any area of the globe.

David Hein, Manager of Climate Information for International Development and his team member, Joe Daron, travelled to Tanzania to deliver the training to scientists from Tanzania and Malawi.

David describes the benefits of the training: "The PRECIS workshop provides training in the science of climate change and climate modelling which is tailored towards beginner and early career scientists. This gives scientists the knowledge and tools they need to construct high-resolution climate change scenarios for East Africa, ultimately helping to enhance climate resilience in the region."