Since 2006, SMHI has conducted a cooperation project to assist Botswana’s national weather service in further developing its operational activities. The project focuses on capacity building over a broad range of activities from the collection and interpretation of observations and numerical forecasts to producing user products, such as maps, forecast texts and presentations for TV and radio.
– SMHI personnel covering different areas of expertise have conducted some 20 training missions per year in Botswana and Botswana staff has been frequent visitors to SMHI in Sweden. Thanks to this close collaboration, we have accomplished a number of improvements at the Botswana Met Service. In January and February, our forecast meteorologists will go down again to continue with ongoing efforts in aviation forecasting for air traffic safety and public forecasting for TV, says Project Manager Phil Graham of SMHI.
Presenting weather on TV
One of the people going to Botswana in January is Mats Andersson, who works both at SMHI and SVT (Sweden’s national broadcasting company). Unlike Sweden, where TV companies employ their own meteorologists, Botswana meteorologists from the Department of Meteorological Services present weather forecasts on TV.
Mats has already been to Botswana twice, where he worked with presentation techniques – where to stand, how to point, how to speak and so on – and also helped extend formats from one-day forecasts to several-day forecasts, as well as adding more international weather.
On his third visit to Botswana, Mats will be accompanied by Bo Elis Magnusson of SMHI, a technical expert on the TV presentation system used in Botswana, which is the same as that used by SVT.
– Elis and I will be working as a team to support the production of new storyboards, says Mats, explaining that a storyboard is essentially an advanced template for presenting the weather in different ways.
– Our aim now is to establish a weekly routine where daily TV presentations are varied, using different forecast lengths, world weather and statistics.
Including weather statistics in the TV presentations will be a new feature that builds on efforts from other SMHI experts. Anna Johnell has worked on improving the observation databases and Lennart Wern has trained colleagues in Botswana in techniques for producing statistics, such as maximum and minimum temperature, and precipitation. This knowledge will now be directly applied.
– This is true teamwork, both with colleagues from SMHI and colleagues from Botswana, Mats explains. I’m very grateful to be a part of this project. I had never been to Africa before and I’ve learned a great deal – about Africa, about international relations, and above all about my own profession.