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De Coning E.,South African Weather Service Research | Gijben M.,South African Weather Service Research | Maseko B.,South African Weather Service Research | Van Hemert L.,South African Weather Service Research
South African Journal of Science | Year: 2015

To issue warnings of thunderstorms, which have the potential for severe weather elements such as heavy rainfall and hail, is a task of all weather services. In data sparse regions, where there is no or limited access to expensive observation systems, satellite data can provide very useful information for this purpose. The Nowcasting Satellite Application Facility in Europe developed software to identify and track rapidly developing thunderstorms (RDT) using data from the geostationary Meteosat Second Generation satellite. The software was installed in South Africa and tested over the South African as well as the southern African domain. The RDT product was validated by means of 20 case studies. Over the South African region, validation was done by means of visual comparison to radar images as well as in a quantitative manner against the occurrence of lightning. Visual comparisons between the RDT product and images from satellite data as well as the occurrence of heavier rainfall were done over areas outside South Africa. Good correlations were found between the identified storms and the occurrence of lightning over South Africa. Visual comparisons indicated that the RDT software can be useful over the southern African domain, where lightning and radar data are not available. Very encouraging results were obtained in the 20 case studies. The RDT software can be a valuable tool for general and aviation forecasters to warn the public of pending severe weather, especially in areas where other data sources are absent or not adequate. © 2015. The Author(s).

Mathole K.,South African Weather Service Research | Ndarana T.,South African Weather Service Research | Beraki A.,South African Weather Service Research | Landman W.A.,Natural Environment Research Council | Landman W.A.,University of Pretoria
South African Journal of Science | Year: 2014

We conducted a comparison of trends in lower stratospheric temperatures and summer zonal wind fields based on 27 years of reanalysis data and output from hindcast simulations using a coupled oceanatmospheric general circulation model (OAGCM). Lower stratospheric ozone in the OAGCM was relaxed to the observed climatology and increasing greenhouse gas concentrations were neglected. In the reanalysis, lower stratospheric ozone fields were better represented than in the OAGCM. The spring lower stratospheric/ upper tropospheric cooling in the polar cap observed in the reanalysis, which is caused by a direct ozone depletion in the past two decades and is in agreement with previous studies, did not appear in the OAGCM. The corresponding summer tropospheric response also differed between data sets. In the reanalysis, a statistically significant poleward trend of the summer jet position was found, whereas no such trend was found in the OAGCM. Furthermore, the jet position in the reanalysis exhibited larger interannual variability than that in the OAGCM. We conclude that these differences are caused by the absence of long-term lower stratospheric ozone changes in the OAGCM. Improper representation or non-inclusion of such ozone variability in a prediction model could adversely affect the accuracy of the predictability of summer rainfall forecasts over South Africa. © 2014. The Authors. The Authors.

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