Lack of Weather Data and Forecasting in Africa a Major Focus of the First Africa Climate Summit

September 20, 2023

Most of the more developed countries in the world, particularly in North America, Europe, Australia, and eastern Asia, have fairly accurate weather forecasts, especially in the short term. This is due largely to technological advances and the availability of weather services to use that technology to make and distribute these forecasts to users.

However, most of the less developed countries, especially in Africa, don’t have access to the same quality and accuracy of weather forecasts. With Africa one of the least prepared areas in the world for climate change, this often leads to increased damages and fatalities. Most of Sub-Saharan Africa also lies within the tropics, where precipitation forecasting is notoriously difficult due to frequent thunderstorms on small scales. Flooding, drought, and tropical storms in the southeast part of the continent are all significant risks on the continent outside of the Sahara Desert – with farming an industry that is largely affected.

Africa only has 37 radar sites, only about 5% as many as Europe and the United States combined, even though Africa is larger in area than the United States, China, India, and most of Europe combined – one fifth of the world’s total land area. Less than a fifth of African countries have reliable weather services, and weather stations are very far apart. This significant lack of weather stations leads to ForecastWatch only having 40 stations in Africa for analysis, less than 2% of the world’s nearly 2300 stations, despite having 20% of the world’s land area.

This significant lack of weather forecasts and climate preparedness were major themes of the first Africa Climate Summit from September 4-6 in Nairobi. The biggest goals of the summit were improvement of data collection, preparedness for climate change, and better weather forecasting.

ForecastWatch analyzes the accuracy of temperature forecasts. Our data offers the ability to request customizable collections – by location, time period, and forecast parameters, such as temperature – and have them conveniently delivered as easy-to-use CSV files. Contact us for more information.

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