ICPAC is one of the implementing partners in the GCRF African-SWIFT

Last modified by S2S_regionact on 2021/08/09 16:45

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) is a WMO accredited Regional Climate Centre  that provides climate services over Eastern Africa region. The centre is one of the implementing partners in the  Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (GCRF African-SWIFT). The GCRF African-SWIFT is a coordinated programme of research from 2017 to 2022. It brings together 5 UK partners and 10 African partners (national, regional and continental operational forecasting centres and public universities) to build research capabilities and improve tropical weather forecasting from hourly to seasonal time scales in Africa. The programme is funded by Research Councils UK through the UK Global Challenges Research Fund and led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS). The overall aims of the programme are to:

i) Make research advances needed for significant improvements in weather forecasts in Africa, and the tropics more generally, from the hourly to the seasonal timescale.

ii) Build capability among UK and African partners to improve, maintain and evaluate operational tropical forecasts in future.

iii) Assist African partners in developing capacity for sustained training of forecasters, in partnership with African academic institutions and international agencies.

In addition to Forecast Evaluation and Training work packages, ICPAC is involved in sub-seasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) research and testbed activities to integrate scientific research and operational forecasting testbeds.  The main objectives are to information identify sources of predictability for African rainfall on sub-seasonal timescales; (ii) evaluate operational S2S prediction systems; and (iii) build capability in the UK and Africa to carry out research to inform the development of operational forecast products on the sub-seasonal timescale for decision making across a range of sectors.

Testbed Kick off  and Access to real time datasets

The first operational S2S testbed kick off workshop was conducted during 18-22 November 2019 at the ICPAC Headquarter, Ngong Town, Kenya. The testbed was coordinated with follow up training organized by the WISER Support to ICPAC Project (W2SIP) and Towards Forecast based Preparedness (ForPAc). The workshop was attended by 34 participants from 18 institutions. The testbed kick-off signalled the beginning of the use of the S2S real-time datasets that were made available during Phase II of the S2S Prediction Project. Among other projects, the W2SIP, SWIFT, and ForPAc were granted access to real-time S2S forecast datasets coordinated by the S2S Real Time Pilot Initiative.  The initiative formally started on 1st November 2019, allowing real-time S2S forecasts to be made available to a set of individual sub-projects for a two-year period (http://s2sprediction.net/xwiki/bin/view/dtbs/RealtimePilot). At ICPAC, SWIFT and W2SIP have engaged users in the agriculture and water sectors to co-produce climate products and services that aid their decision-making to reduce climate related disasters such as flood and drought risk.


Objective Seasonal Forecasting 

Following WMO’s recommendations on Sub-Seasonal and Seasonal Forecasting Systems to address the shortcomings of consensus-based seasonal forecasts, W2SIP, ForPAc, and African SWIFT collaborated to develop the first Objective Consolidated Seasonal  Forecasting approach. This new approach combines statistically downscaled forecasts obtained from a linear regression technique applied on model ensemble averages at individual grid points with those from Canonical Correlation Analysis as implemented in the Climate Predictability Tool (Mason and Tippett, 2017). The first objective seasonal forecast was implemented for June-September season at the 52nd Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2019.


The following publications resulted from African SWIFT research activities.

Endris, H.S., Hirons, L., Segele, Z.T., Gudoshava, M., Woolnough, S. and Artan, G.A., 2021. Evaluation of the Skill of Monthly Precipitation Forecasts from Global Prediction Systems over the Greater Horn of Africa. Weather and Forecasting, 36(4), pp.1275-1298.

Gudoshava, M., Wainwright, C.M., Hirons, L.C., Endris, H.S., Segele, Z.,  Woolnough, S.J.,  Atheru, Z., and Artan G.A., 2021, Atmospheric Conditions Accompanying the Eastern Africa Short Rains Onset. International Journal of Climatology. Under Review


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