As a region encompassing 16 Member States and millions of square kilometres, Southern Africa spans a variety of climates. From the tropical rainforest of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the deserts of Namibia and Botswana, the region incorporates several distinct climate zones, each facing unique challenges as the region develops in the face of climate change.
While these distinct zones each operate discretely, they also experience climatic effects that affect the region as a whole. For this reason, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has approached climate monitoring as a united effort aimed at ensuring Member States cooperate on weather and climate effects in a manner that fosters the security of the region and stronger Regional Integration.
The SADC Climate Services Centre
In 1990, Member States of SADC opted to extend the mandate of the Regional Drought Monitoring Centre to incorporate additional climate effects, thereby establishing the SADC Climate Services Centre.
The principal goal of the Climate Services Centre is to reduce negative impacts from climate extremes, such as droughts and floods. The Centre generates medium-range (10 to 14 days) and long-range (three to six months) climatic outlook assessments that are disseminated to local communities by Meteorological and Hydrological Service Centres in each Member State.
Regional Climate Outlook Forum
Predictions from the Climate Services Centre contribute to planning in various sectors of SADC, spanning Agriculture, Healthcare, Energy, Water Resources Management, Disaster Management, and Transportation.
Improving the reliability of meteorological predictions, SADC also contributes to the World Meteorological Organisation Regional Climate Outlook Forum. This international forum brings together scientists from Member States’ national meteorological and hydrological services with those from the SADC Climate Services Centre and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s Climate Prediction and Application Centre. Through this forum, scientists are able to discuss the climate situation throughout Southern Africa and collaborate on Regional Climate Outlook Bulletins. These bulletins provide valuable information on progress and potential hazards of the climate system in Southern Africa.