Pretoria, South Africa
Pretoria, South Africa

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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP-SICA | Phase: ENV.2010.4.1.3-2 | Award Amount: 9.15M | Year: 2010

The overall goal of the proposed project is to develop a coordinated global observation system for mercury able to provide temporal and spatial distributions of mercury concentrations in ambient air and precipitation over land and over surface waters at different altitudes and latitudes around the world. This will then provide high quality data for the validation and application of regional and global scale atmospheric models, to give to governments, national and international organisations and stakeholders a firm basis for future policy development and implementation. Specific objectives of the proposed project are (a) to establish a Global Observation System for Mercury (GMOS) able to provide ambient concentrations and deposition fluxes of mercury species around the world, by combining observations from permanent ground-based stations, and from oceanographic and tropospheric measurement campaigns; (b) to validate regional and global scale atmospheric mercury modelling systems able to predict temporal variations and spatial distributions of atmospheric mercury entering to and re-emitted from terrestrial and aquatic receptors; (c) to evaluate and identify source-receptor relationships at country scale and their temporal trends for current and projected scenarios of mercury emissions from anthropogenic and natural sources; (d) to develop interoperable tools to allow the sharing of observational and models output data produced by GMOS. The overarching goal of GMOS is to support the achievement of goals set by the GEO / GEOSS, and specifically of the GEO Task HE-09-02d and contribute to the advancement of our scientific understanding in the nine Societal Benefit Areas (SBA) established in GEOSS. The proposed project will rely on the results and knowledge acquired in the framework of past EU projects (i.e., MAMCS, MOE, MERCYMS) and international programs (i.e., UNECE TF HTAP; UNEP F&T partnership area).


News Article | November 10, 2015
Site: www.reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG Heat-wave conditions that are scorching much of South Africa's maize-growing areas are expected to persist until Friday or Saturday, the South African Weather Service said on Tuesday. The extremely hot weather is being experienced in Gauteng province, where the commercial capital Johannesburg is located, Mpumalanga province in the north east, and the North West province, which form a major part of the maize belt. Northern Limpopo province has also been affected. South Africa is in the throes of the worst drought since the end of apartheid rule two decades ago and last season's maize crop was a third lower because of the weather.


The South African Weather Service is mandated to issue warnings of hazardous weather events, including those related to heavy precipitation, in order to safeguard life and property. Flooding and flash flood events are common in South Africa. Frequent updates and real-time availability of precipitation data are crucial to support hydrometeorological warning services. Satellite rainfall estimation provides a very important data source for flash flood guidance systems as well as nowcasting of precipitation events for the data sparse regions of the African continent. Although low earth orbiting satellites with microwave instruments provide good quality rainfall estimates, their temporal and spatial resolution are not adequate for time-critical services. Precipitation estimation using geostationary satellites is less accurate, but provides excellent spatial coverage, is updated frequently and is available in real-time. This study compares different ways to use and combine satellite precipitation estimates and numerical weather prediction model fields over the South African domain in order to determine the optimal estimate of precipitation, which can also be applied in real-time to support flash flood guidance. © 2013 by the authors.


Grant
Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 891.34K | Year: 2015

IMPALA will deliver a step change in global model climate prediction for Africa on the 5-40 year timescale by delivering reductions in model systematic errors, resulting in reduced uncertainty in predictions of African climate and enabling improved assessment of the robustness of multi-model projections for the continent. IMPALA will include key foci on continental convection and land-atmosphere coupling as fundamental drivers of local rainfall, and oceanic convection and aerosols as influencing global modes of variability and the teleconnection pathways by which they drive rainfall over various parts of the continent. Convection, land-atmosphere coupling and aerosols have been identified in the DFID/Met Office Climate Science Research Partnership (CSRP) as first order drivers of African rainfall and processes where contemporary models show significant uncertainties and biases. IMPALA will use a single multi-temporal, multi-spatial resolution model, the Met Office Unified Model (MetUM), to allow rapid pull through of improvements made in the project into improved African climate modelling capability although the methodology and understanding will be widely applicable across all contemporary models. We will work through a pan-Africa lens to develop a benchmark suite of metrics targeted on key processes and user-relevant variables and will use the most relevant observations from past and future campaigns and latest remote sensing data. Strong links to partners and Regional Consortia (RC) will facilitate two-way evaluation and feedback, ensuring local understanding of relevant climate processes and required climate information in the regions. Evaluation of the impacts of the global model improvements, developed both within the project and through gearing from the ongoing model development process at the Met Office will be tested in idealised-scenarios of climate change. The unique capability of the MetUM to run across a broad range of spatial and temporal scales will be central to the project. Running the MetUM as a cloud-resolving weather model, through to a multi-decadal climate model, will allow evaluation of physical processes controlling the uncertainty in key metrics of pan-African climate variability and climate change on the 5-40 year time scale. The latest global coupled models available at the Met Office will be harnessed to drive a higher resolution (4km) convection-permitting regional model, for the first time across the entire African continent, under both current and idealised future climates. This will deliver understanding of the roles played by improved local representation of convective processes and high impact weather on the climate variability and change over the continent and be used to improve convective, land-atmosphere coupling and aerosol parametrizations in the coarser-scale models. The results will also provide an important new resource for RC and other African-focused climate research, enabling better-informed evaluation of the robustness of multi-model projections. This, in turn, can be utilised by decision makers to improve risk management for health, agriculture and water resources and help protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable, safeguarding societal development already achieved. Key model results, metrics and observations will be made available to the FCFA RC and local partners through an interactive webpage. The consortium will also work closely with the FCFA Coordination, Capacity Development and Knowledge Exchange (CCKE) Unit in their pan-African cross-programme research activities.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite got a night-time view of former Tropical Cyclone Dineo over the southeastern coast of Mozambique. Warnings have already been posted in the northeastern region of South Africa as Dineo continues to track inland. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center or JTWC issued their final warning on the system on February 15. Later in the day at 2246 UTC (5:46 p.m. EST) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite provided a night-time, infrared image of the ex-tropical cyclone. The image showed that the storm had become somewhat elongated as it continued to weaken. The interaction with the land of Mozambique is expected to continue weakening the storm as it tracks further inland on Feb. 16. On Feb. 16 at 0000 UTC (Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. EST) Ex-Tropical Cyclone Dineo was located near 23.4 degrees south latitude and 34.1 degrees east longitude, just inland from the coast of southeastern Mozambique. Dineo was moving to the west at 9 knots (10.3 mph/16.6 kph) and maximum sustained surface winds were estimated at 60 knots (69 mph/111 kph). On Feb. 16, the South African Weather Service posted warnings for the northeastern part of the country where the effects of Ex-tropical Cyclone Dineo were already being experienced A warning for severe thunderstorms was in effect over the south-western parts of the Waterberg District of Limpopo with possible heavy rain leading to localized flooding as well as large amounts of small hail. There was also warnings for damaging winds and flooding in Vhembe and Mopani District Municipalities of Limpopo from late afternoon on Thursday, persisting into tomorrow Friday morning, February 17. A Heavy Rain warning is also in effect. Heavy rains may create localized flooding in Vhembe and Mopani District Municipalities of Limpopo, from Thursday late afternoon, persisting into Friday morning, Feb. 17. For updated warnings from the South African Weather Service, visit: http://www. ..


News Article | August 29, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa's recovery from its worst drought in over century could be stalled as anticipated rain relief from a La Nina weather system remains uncertain, the South African Weather Service said on Monday.


News Article | February 24, 2017
Site: www.reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - An El Nino weather pattern, which brought a scorching drought to southern Africa last year, could return in the spring which usually occurs from August to October, the South African Weather Service said on Friday.


News Article | March 24, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Lake St Lucia is almost completely dry due to drought conditions in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, northeast of Durban, South Africa February 25, 2016. South Africa experienced its driest year on record in 2015 and record temperatures in January this year as an El Nino weather pattern triggered drought and heatwaves, threatening the staple maize crop among others. In its rolling monthly forecast, which looks five months ahead, the South African Weather Service said that most models are confidently showing a gradual decay of El Nino. "The forecasting system favors a tendency of above-normal rainfall for the late autumn over most parts of South Africa," it said. The weather service said that there are "enhanced chances" for above-normal rainfall for the southern hemisphere winter months of June through August in most of the country apart from the central region. It also noted that the forecast showed "a huge disparity in the rainfall and temperature forecast for the coming seasons", so some regions are likely to be much wetter than others. Higher than normal rainfall could bring much-needed relief to parched pasture lands and dam levels, which the water minister has said could take more than three years to recover to pre-drought levels. But analysts said it was too little, too late for the summer maize crop and said prospects for winter wheat remain uncertain. "For the summer maize crop we need the rain immediately as it is now in the pollination stages. April is too late for the summer crops," said Wandile Sihlobo, economist at Grain SA, South Africa's largest grain producer group. "And for the winter crop, the forecast is not clear," he added. The Crop Estimates Committee (CEC), which will provide its third production forecast for the 2016 crop next Wednesday, is expected to peg the harvest at 6.77 million tonnes, a Reuters poll of analysts and traders showed. That would be down almost 7 percent from last month's estimate of 7.255 million tonnes and 32 percent less than last year's harvest. Maize is South Africa's staple food and the price of the white variety, used for human consumption, doubled last year, stoking inflation that accelerated to 7 percent in February, its highest in seven years, from 6.2 percent in January.


News Article | April 29, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The winter forecast for drought-hit South Africa has become increasingly uncertain as an El Nino weather pattern persists but chances remain for above-average winter rainfall for most of the country, the South African Weather Service said on Friday.


News Article | January 29, 2016
Site: www.reuters.com

Children walk to the last tap with running water in their village after water to the other communal taps was cut off due to drought in Qwabe, north of Durban, South Africa, January 22, 2016. People queue to collect water from a tank as water to homes has been cut off due to the drought in KwaMsane, northeast of Durban, South Africa January 20, 2016. A man and his grandchildren collect water from the Nkuzana River as water to homes has been cut off due to drought near Pongola, northeast of Durban, South Africa January 20, 2016. Children pump water at the last tap with running water in their village after water to the other communal taps was cut off due to drought in Masotsheni, north of Durban, South Africa, January 22, 2016. A woman gets water from a well dug in the Black Imfolozi River bed, which is dry due to drought, near Ulundi, northeast of Durban, South Africa January 20, 2016. JOHANNESBURG An El Nino weather pattern which has triggered historic drought in South Africa remains on track to keep conditions hot and dry for the rest of the summer over most of the country including the maize belt, the country's weather service said on Friday. South African maize prices have raced to record highs because of the drought, which the central bank once again cited on Thursday as a concern driving food prices and inflation when it raised interest rates by 50 basis points. "Most models are showing the continuation of a strong El Nino episode toward the late-summer season with the expectation to start gradually decaying during the autumn and early winter seasons," the service said in its monthly outlook, which gives rolling forecasts for the following five months. "Other international forecasting systems also similarly indicate a tendency of drier and warmer conditions for South Africa," it said. The only change from the December outlook is that the likelihood of above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall has decreased slightly, said Cobus Olivier, a prediction scientist at the South African Weather Service. "But the main expectation remains for drier conditions," he said. This scenario applies to the regions of South Africa that typically get summer rains including the fertile maize belt which stretches east and west from Johannesburg. South Africa last year recorded its lowest rainfall levels since records began in 1904 and the staple maize crop is likely to come in at 7.44 million tonnes, 25 percent lower than last year, a government agency said on Wednesday. Late rains prompted some maize farmers in the western regions to plant two months late. But the weather service noted that "rainfall events may still occur, as is the norm for the summer season. However, extreme high temperatures which cause high evaporation, may worsen the current drought conditions."

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