Sadc climate practitioners Tuesday gathered in Harare to study and manipulate weather data gathered from around the sub-region and produce the 2010/2011 pre-summer season regional outlook on Friday next week.
The instrument will guide farmers to make cropping decisions, about six weeks before the start of the region’s main rainy season.
A timely forecast will help farmers to make adequate preparations.
The Southern Africa Region Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) says it will manipulate the data using various techniques and predict the region’s weather outlook in two stages, on a three-month scale and on a long-lead of four to six months.
“We’re still in the laboratory. It’s a study, it’s a process and we are here for the next eight days,” said Brad Garanganga, coordinator of the Sadc Drought Monitoring Centre (DMC).
“The weather forecast for the region will be available on the 27th of this month. It’s an initiative of the metrological centres of Sadc to have a regional approach. As SARCOF, we think a regional approach to weather forecasting will help us gain more control of the weather.
“Home-grown products are the best. These not only include inputs from other partners but also take cognisance of the uniqueness of the climate system in the respective countries.”
The organisation has sat every year since 1998 to read the weather conditions in the 15 countries of Sadc and simulate a forecast.
SARCOF is also trying to find ways to tackle climate change and climate variability, in particular drought and floods that have recently devastated the region, causing starvation and deaths.
“We are dealing with the atmosphere we cannot control. We cannot draw weather patterns to suit forecasts. We are grappling with virtually the unknown,” said Amos Makarau director of the Metrological Services Department.
“We need to be aware of the challenges, sharing data and products with DMC on a continuous basis, continuing the momentum of climate expert meeting and updating climate prediction regularly and timely and engaging the user community to enable them to apply climate products as part of decision support.”