The seasonal forecasting efforts in South Africa dates back to the 1990’s. During this period a range of forecasting systems of varying complexities has been developed and implemented. A review of the evolution of forecasting efforts and systems developed during this period reveals a number of caveats that need the attention of modellers, forecast producers and users of forecasts, which this study seeks to address. This project focuses on seasonal-to-interannual time scale of months to seasons and aims to investigate predictability and improve predictive skill across all seasons in Southern Africa, with a special emphasis on previously neglected areas (i.e. winter rainfall areas) such as the southwestern and southern Cape, through configuration of the Variable-resolution Earth System Model (VrESM). It will addresses the need to demonstrate the benefits of using seasonal forecasts, including financial benefits, allow for the development of schemes for process-based verification, build Earth System Models for improved forecasts, operational production of forecasts to address seasonal characteristics; produce and test high spatial and temporal resolution forecasts, ensure operational application model development linked to user needs through co-production and co-learning and development of methodologies to help better communicate seasonal forecasts to a variety of end users  in terms of complexity and application.

CSAG will provide specialist input through engaging with processes leading to statistical non-linear downscaling, testing models over the southwestern Cape, analysing seasonal cycle dynamics using mid-latitude dynamics, wave structures and teleconnections, development of tailored models for crop yields and river flows and sharing experiences through user interaction.


Time Frames: Research commenced in 2018, to be finalized in 2020.

Funders: National Research Foundation (NRF)

Partners: Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR), University of Pretoria (UP), University of Venda (UV), University of Witwatersrand (Wits), South African Weather Services (SAWS), Agricultural Research Council (ARC).

For further details: contact Christopher Lennard