By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Mansur Bako Matazu, has said that there is a need for providers and users of weather and climate services to have one voice, so as to co-produce a well informed weather and climate information for the development of all sectors of the economy.
This is just as he noted, that priority attention should be given to re-balancing the ownership and responsibility for climate services from provider-led and user-informed, to practices of co-exploration, co-design and co-development.
The DG said this at the Testbed 3 workshop on Nowcasting and Co-production, jointly organised by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) under the auspices of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (SWIFT) project.
The GCRF African SWIFT project according to him, started way back in 2017 with the aim of building capacity in areas of forecasting tropical weather systems and increasing the research capabilities in West and East African Tropical weather systems.
He further said that, “The reality of climate change is here with us, and every effort at predicting and improving the accuracy of weather forecasts is therefore critical and necessary for people’s safety, and improvement in all weather-sensitive socio-economic sectors including aviation, agriculture, energy, water resources, marine, maritime, and emergency response”.
He explained that the GCRF African SWIFT has offered an opportunity for African meteorologists, scientists, and researchers to come together to share knowledge and develop improved forecasting techniques that aims to deliver a step change in African weather forecasting capability and communication, from hourly to seasonal timescales, to protect the lives and livelihoods of African people while improving the economies of their countries.
According to him, “In forecasting, we don’t like designing forecast and just pass it to the users without having their input. The project is aligning with the WMO guideline and emphasis on co-design and co-development of forecasting services. This provides ownership and also flexibility of users in getting enough feedback”.
While noting that NiMet since his assumption of office, has continued to invest in improving delivery of services and generation of relevant products, he said that they are at advance stage of revamping their marine meteorological operations to deliver world class services that are globally relevant in line with international best practices.
For his part, the Representative of the World Meteorological Organization(WMO), Dr. Benard Gomez, who said that it is important to bring in the user community when it comes to weather co-production, urged the user community to be responsive to climate services, so as to produce information fit for purpose.
He also noted that the world is in deep weather issues and forecasting capabilities need to be strengthened as much as possible, adding that WMO is engaging with NiMet on increasing the quality and quantity of data generated from Nigeria and surrounding countries.
“Nigeria has signed the WMO convention and one of the major contributions expected from Nigeria is data generated from your weather stations, that is the background for all work in Meteorology. Stations in Nigeria contribute to the global effort to monitor and predict the weather.
“I call on you to ensure that whatever investments are made are sustainable, especially in this area; these are tools and skills that we need going forward, the weather is going to be more harsh, so we need to enrich these tools and skills, knowing that we need them to survive”, he concluded.
Earlier, the representative of the Directorate of Weather Forecasting Services, Mrs Olaniyan Olumide, explained that the workshop became necessary due to the fact that despite scientific and technological advances which has readily contributed to improving weather forecasting, the accuracy and the access to these information by local grassroots communities still remain a major challenge.
She emphasized that the project which aims to bring about radical change in weather forecasting capacity in Africa, will help to better understand the need of the weather forecast users from different sectors.
Speaking to newsmen, the Nigerian SWIFT Principal Investigator, Ishiyaku Ibrahim, while noting that SWIFT Project is research-based, added that the workshop brings together users of meteorological information and producers of the information, so as to discuss on the type of information and how its being received as well as its benefit in decision making.
“We are bringing the users of our Meteorological information together with us, so that we can brainstorm. Let them tell us how they have been using, accessing our information and how it has helped them to make decisions”, he said.
Several agencies such as; the Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were represented.
The workshop on nowcasting and users’ co-production with the theme, “Evaluation and improvement of 0-6 hour and short-term forecasts (nowcasting and synoptic forecasting) with users for better decision making”, aims to prepare for and ensure the effective engagement of decision-makers in the development of improved forecasting techniques as part of the project’s third testbed (TSB3), taking place in October 2021.