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Climate Prediction Center


African Desk


The African Desk was established at the Climate Prediction Center in 1994 as part of the US contributions to the WMO Voluntary Cooperation Program (VCP).  The objective is to help build capacity in climate predictions, monitoring, and assessments at African meteorological institutions.  The African Desk was expanded in 2006 to include weather in support of the WMO Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) for Africa.  The African Desk provides access to NCEP weather and climate data, and products, and conducts in-house professional development training for African NMHSs.  The current African Training Desk consists of a Climate Training Desk and a Weather Training Desk, and has the capacity to host fours visitors at a time for 4 month periods arriving at staggered intervals of two months.  The African Desk is fully integrated with CPC International projects including the support to the USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) and the Disaster Risk Reduction Program of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), and the NOAA-USDA Joint Agricultural Weather Facility (JAWF).

Requirements for training in the African Desk

The requirements for eligibility to participate in the African Desk Training Program are as follows:

  • At least a 4 –year university degree in Meteorology or a 4-year university degree in any of the science fields plus at least one year of graduate studies in meteorology
  • For the Weather Forecasting Training Desk, at least 3 years of professional experience in operational weather forecasting.
  • For the Climate Prediction Training Desk, at least 3 years professional experience in climate monitoring and or predictions.
  • Knowledge of basic UNIX commands not required but desired for both the weather and climate sections of the African Desk.
  • Training on WRF modeling available to candidates who are proficient in the use of UNIX commands and GrADS and who have basic experience in NWP.
  • Training on satellite rainfall estimation available to candidates working on climate monitoring, data analysis, and who are proficient in the use of UNIX commands and GrADS.

·         Candidates must commit to return to their duties for at least one year immediately upon completing the African Desk training.

·         Candidates must fill out a WMO VCP Fellowship Application Form and mail it to the Education Department of the WMO in Geneva.  A copy of the application form may be sent by fax to the African Desk at 301-763-8125 or by email to:  More information on the WMO VCP Fellowship Program and the application form can be found on the WMO web site at this address:



You can download the application form here.



The curriculum for both the Climate Training Desk and the Weather Training Desk are heavily tailored towards hands-on practical training.  Trainees also have the opportunity to attend seminars and lectures on state of the art weather and climate predictions and monitoring.


Climate Training Curriculum

·         CPC Tutorials on ENSO and the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)

·         Access and process large data: Climate Forecast System (CFS), NCEP reanalysis and precipitation data

·         Use of Climate Monitoring Tool, graphic interpretation, and integration in operational climate monitoring

·         Climate Predictability Tool, graphic interpretation and integration in operational climate forecasting

·         Simple multimodel ensemble predictions to improve predictions

·         Subseasonal forecasting, including the influence of the MJO and other local factors

·         The preparation of the African monsoon monitoring

·         GIS applications to produce forecast graphics in geo-referenced formats


Weather Training Curriculum

·         The use of NAWIPS applications in operational weather forecasting

·         COMET Distance Learning Online Tutorial

·         Use and interpretation of NWP

·         Use of ensembles in operational weather forecasting

·         Subseasonal forecasting in partnership with the Climate Training Desk

·         Writing forecast bulletins

·         Access and process large data: Global Forecast System (GFS) and ensembles (GEFS), NCEP reanalysis and precipitation data

·         Conduct model verification studies

·         WRF modeling

·         GIS applications to produce forecast graphics in geo-referenced formats

For further information about our African Desk, please contact W. Thiaw at:


NOAA/ National Weather Service
NOAA Center for Weather and Climate Prediction
Climate Prediction Center
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College Park, Maryland 20740
Page Author: Climate Prediction Center Internet Team
Page last modified: October 17, 2006
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