Summary of GeoCOF Training, AGRHYMET 24-27 June 2019

Summary of GeoCOF Training, AGRHYMET 24-27 June 2019

Contributors:  Alkhalil Adoum, Tamuka Magadzire

Reinforcing partnership and capacity in seasonal forecasting in West Africa has been part of SERVIR/West Africa’s objective.  In collaboration with AGRHYMET and USGS/FEWS NET, GeoCOF training has been jointly planned and carried out to reinforce AGRHYMET and ACMAD climate scientists’ capacity in seasonal forecasting.

GeoCOF is a statistical software tool for seasonal forecasting developed by the FEWS NET/USGS activity in support of regional seasonal forecasting processes, with assistance from the SADC Climate Services Centre.  It uses multiple-linear regression modeling between climatic predictors (e.g. sea surface temperatures) and the predictant—usually seasonal rainfall totals. By implementing this training, SERVIR/WA and FEWS NET aim to improve the capacity of ACMAD and AGRHYMET climate scientists in seasonal forecasting.

The training took place at the AGRHYMET Regional Center from 24-27 June 2017, with about 15 participants from ACMAD, AGRHYMET, and FEWS NET.  The training was completed to the satisfaction of the participants, who were given attendance certificates. Looking toward the future, a social media communication group of participants was set up, and a number of proposals were put forward as a way to continue efforts to improve the accuracy of seasonal forecasts. These included:

  • regular technical information-sharing meetings involving AGRHYMET, ACMAD, FEWS NET, perhaps quarterly, covering themes such as short-term training on selected topics and sharing of results from forecast-related research and operational methodologies
  • Assess and validate the relative performance of various sources of satellite data (e.g. CHIRPS, RFE, TAMSAT, etc.) compared to rain gauge data
  • Investigate the use of alternative predictors regarding whether they can improve upon the accuracy of the SST-based forecasts
  • Propose a 2-3 day GeoCOF training (by the participants) of colleagues at AGRHYMET and ACMAD who did not manage to fully attend the original training


Our special thanks to SERVIR/West Africa for full financial support and AGRHYMET Regional Center for the logistic support.