Thursday, 10 January 2013: 9:30 AM
Room 15 (Austin Convention Center)
A series of droughts in multiple parts of the world in the 1970s through the 1990s challenged the ability of National Meteorological Hydrological Services to respond to the needs of governments and the public for timely and reliable climate information and services for informed decision making. The African Desk at the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) was established in 1994 to provide such help. Its activities were expanded to offer decision support services to the US Agency for International Development's (USAID) Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS-NET) for the management of food security and water resources in several regions of the world: Africa, Afghanistan, Caribbean, Central America and Southeast Asia. The FEWS-NET group at the CPC provides a suite of atmospheric and oceanic products specifically made for FEWS-NET regions. The cornerstone products of the program at CPC are high resolution (0.1° resolution), satellite derived precipitation estimates (RFE) and rainfall climatology products which help users evaluate rainfall conditions on various time scales. The information these products provide are integrated into the principal operational product for FEWS-NET, the CPC/FEWS-NET Weekly Regional Hazard Outlook for Food Security. Analysis of current, past and future atmospheric conditions using CPC models and RFE products are combined with in-situ field reports as well as a suite of agricultural products provided by USGS to first create a draft outlook which is reviewed by FEWS-NET members. At weekly weather briefings, a review of the current state of atmospheric, oceanic, and cropping conditions relevant to FEWS-NET activities is then undertaken. The final product, released to the public weekly, is based on a convergence of evidence determined from these briefings as well as in-situ observations, satellite-derived products, agricultural indices and forecast products aimed at pinpointing potential weather hazards to food security across FEWS-NET regions. The outlook is then used to guide food-security decision-making and humanitarian response planning at USAID.
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