Understanding climate
for the benefit of society

Kiberia in Kenya. This picture is taken in 2018. 

Challenges and pathways for African Weather Services

Weather and climate services are rapidly developing around the world, however Africa is far behind. Erik Kolstad, researcher at NORCE and the Bjerknes Centre, is the co-author of an article in Nature Communications that looks at the challenges and presents solutions for sustainable weather and climate services in Africa.


Africa is one of the continents most affected by climate change. According to the authors of the article, there are four challenges that must be addressed to achieve sustainable weather and climate services. The challenges are scientific gaps, data and access gaps, modelling and forecasting gaps, capacity building and knowledge management and communication.

- Not enough is being done to create work within weather and climate services in Africa. It is mostly based on the countries themselves financing meteorological services, but the funding is limited. We also fund projects from the Western world, but they tend to last only for three-four years, says Kolstad.

Kolstad adds that just because a project succeeds, it does not necessarily recieve additional resources for maintenance and further development.

-  This makes it difficult to create sustainable jobs.

Necessary information

The article proposes several solutions. They include, investing in quantitative and qualitative training in the core sciences, building expertise, and ensuring that African researchers have the knowledge and resources to deliver services that reach local communities and stakeholders in each country and region.

CONFER is an EU-funded research project, led by NORCE, which focuses on climate adaptation through co-production of Climate Services in East Africa. To ensure that the vital agriculture in the area becomes more viable. In several of the countries in this region agriculture employs over 80% of the population.

- They need weather information to determine when to plant and harvest, but we know that they have limited access to such services, says Kolstad.

Erik Kolstad
Erik Kolstad, researcher at NORCE and The Bjerknes Centre. Photo: Andreas R.Graven 

Build competence

Kolstad hopes the article can lead to more research funds that support sustainability, and that Africa can be provided with support to develop weather services.

CONFER and NORCE are both motivated to work in Africa.

- Firstly, it is interesting from a climate research perspective. Additionally, it is motivating to make a difference where it is needed. We can contribute by supporting individuals and groups who can then join our projects and networks. In this way, we enhance the expertise of national meteorological institutes in Africa.

School project

The CATER school program, wchich is a part of the CONFER-project, is an annual course where students, researchers and lecturers can learn from each other while discussing and gaining knowledge to address climate change in Africa.

Cater schools
CATER school 2023. 

- We had our first ten-day course in Kenya last November. The next course will be in Tanzania in October. There will be 20-25 students, where half of them will be from Africa. This year we are particularly interested in involving more Norwegian students. After the course, we will work on maintaining the network for them to use when they are looking for employment.


Application deadline is 19th April.   
Link for CATER
Link for CONFER

Reference: Benjamin Lamptey, Salah SAHABI ABED, Masilin Gudoshava, Joseph Mutemi, Mary-Jane Bopape, Elijah Adesanya Adefisan, Moudi Pascal Igri, Ibrah Seidou Sanda, Ousmane Ndiaye, Douglas J. Parker, Andrew J. Dougill, Andreas H. Fink, Peter Knippertz, Steve Woolnough og Erik Kolstad (2024) Challenges and ways forward for sustainable weather and climate services in Africa, Nature Communications