Maureen Ahiataku, a Senior Meteorologist from Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet), presented at the recent YESS-HIWeather webinar. Maureen conducts research on rainfall variability, flood and drought forecast verification, user engagement, and citizen science. The webinar primarily focused on how the Ghana Meteorological Agency uses the Let’s Talk Weather WhatsApp platform to disseminate weather forecasts and obtain user feedback.
This fruitful discussion commenced with the history of GMet and was followed by the present climate services provided by GMet to various sectors such as marine inland waters, aviation, research, public weather/seasonal/climate, NWP, and data. The challenging tasks of accessing climate data in some locations in countries like Ghana, and the use of people’s feedback to improve the performance of forecasting models were highlighted. Additionally, Maureen talked about the importance of citizen science in climate forecasting where the findings of two case studies were presented, which distinctly expressed the significance of the “human factor” in forecasting climate.
Maureen also raised the important question “How are we really preparing to mitigate short-term impacts in terms of weather phenomena?”. Afterwards, Ghana’s initiatives for climate change mitigation through the five stages of the National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) were mentioned. The webinar concluded with a mention of the existing challenges faced by GMet when extracting user feedback through WhatsApp and an interesting Q&A session on the matter.
CRISiSLab at Massey University is a co-organiser of the webinar series.