As climate change increasingly affects the world, Africa is at risk of facing severe impacts given its geographical position and limited adaptive capacity, exacerbated by widespread poverty and low levels of development. The Sahel region, in particular, will experience higher average temperatures over the course of the 21st century and changes in rainfall patterns, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These trends will affect the frequency and severity of floods, droughts, desertification, sand and dust storms, desert locust plagues and water shortages.
The “Climate Services for Increased Resilience in the Sahel" project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is aimed at enabling countries in the Sahel to mitigate the risks and take advantages of the opportunities brought about by climate variability and change. The project recently kicked off with a two-day meeting in Dakar bringing together representatives from Niger, Senegal and the African Centre of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), and experts from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The group discussed the way forward for the project, which will develop the capabilities of ACMAD as a Regional Climate Center to better support Meteorological Services in the Sahel, and enhance capacities in Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal to maximize the use of, and benefits from, weather and climate products delivered by ACMAD and other centres.
During the meeting, participants were brought up to speed with currently available products and tools from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.Current capacity gaps in the region were identified, as well as opportunities for overcoming them. The project team put together a list of activities, budgets and timelines, which will be finalized into a project implementation plan.