Context: The Handbook Project

A new handbook for weather forecasting in West Africa is due to be published in 2016. The book is intended to be the primary reference source for the training of weather forecasters in this important region of Africa. It is also intended that the book will be of value to students of tropical meteorology worldwide, as it brings together recent research results with practical operational methods for a tropical region.

The book, which is titled “Meteorology of Tropical West Africa: the Forecasters' Handbook”, was completed in 2015, after more than 6 years of scientific exchange, research, writing and editing. The initiative sprang out of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) research programme, which included an African forecasting programme at the AMMA Operational Centre (AOC) during its main field campaigns in 2006 at ACMAD in Niamey. Preparation of the Handbook has aimed to document existing good practice in forecasting, as well as to accelerate the transfer of new research results from AMMA into operational practice. In compiling the book, leading researchers in the science of West African monsoon dynamics and operational forecasters entered into a dialogue to (a) short-cut the transfer of new research results into operational forecasting and (b) challenge advances in theoretical process understanding with every-day weather analyses and forecasting.

The outcome is a book that serves both as an up-to-date textbook of West African monsoon climatology and dynamics and as a guide to weather forecasting, from the nowcasting to seasonal prediction scale, as well as from the local to the continental scale. Several workshops were held, in Europe and Africa, to bring together forecasters, modellers and academics and to reach consensus on the detailed content of the book. These exchanges have led to a number of innovations, including: new plotting conventions and rules for synoptic charts; new consensus on the structure of African Easterly Waves; and several new climatologies and case studies.

The present "Case Studies" website

It corresponds to a online component of the Handbook project. It proposes a series of case studies of typical events prepared to illustrate the Handbook, aimed at training forecasters and students. It has been prepared by African and French forecasters in collaboration with researchers and it uses forecasting methods, diagnostics and conceptual models proposed and detailed in the Handbook.

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