Building Capacity for Production of Gridded Precipitation Products in the East Africa Community

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:55 PM
James P Verdin1, Gideon Galu2, Tamuka Magadzire3, Diego H Pedreros4, Chris C Funk5, Michael E Budde6, Gregory J Husak7, Pete Peterson7, Martin F Landsfeld7 and Libby White7, (1)USGS/EROS, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)FEWS NET, Nairobi, Kenya, (3)FEWS NET, Gaborone, Botswana, (4)USGS, Baltimore, MD, United States, (5)USGS, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, (6)U.S. Geological Survey, Sioux Falls, SD, United States, (7)University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) participates in the Group on Earth Observations’ Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) activity in a number of ways. Recently, important progress has been made in meeting the need for improved precipitation data sets in East Africa. This has been done through capacity building activities with national meteorological and hydrological services (NMHS) in the region, carried out in partnership with the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), and with support from the WMO Office for Eastern and Southern Africa. Through a series of regional gatherings and individual country workshops, scientists from the NMHS have been introduced to the Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) rainfall data set and the GeoCLIM software tool. The CHIRPS data set was developed by USGS and the University of California, Santa Barbara, by blending NOAA geostationary thermal infrared imagery with station observations, using robust geostatistical methods. The core data set consists of pentadal (5-daily) accumulations from 1981-2014 at 0.05 degree spatial resolution, between +/- 50 degrees latitude. The GeoCLIM software can operate on the CHIRPS to map the Standardized Precipitation Index, trends, anomalies, isohyets, and other types of spatio-temporal features. It can also produce new gridded rainfall data sets by geostatistical blending of station observations with existing rainfall grids. NMHS scientists have applied this latter capability to produce best-available national and regional gridded rainfall time-series for 1981-2014 for the East Africa Community (EAC). These data are a fundamental resource for the USAID-EAC climate change adaptation project known by the acronym PREPARED. They incorporate a larger and more complete collection of station observations than ever before. Further work is ongoing at the NMHS to take advantage of the data management capabilities of GeoCLIM, and incorporate its use into ongoing monitoring operations.