Current research projects and programmes

TAMSAT product development and capacity building programme

TAMSAT continually develops and improves our rainfall estimates - working closely with key stakeholders to ensure that the products we develop are useful and applied robustly.

  • Exploiting environmental data for food security in Africa: A new rainfall dataset for monitoring and early action aims to develop and demonstrate the utility of TAMSAT's new gauge-satellite merged dataset
    • Investigators:  Ross Maidment, Emily Black (University of Reading), Seydou Traore (AGRHYMET)
    • Partners:  CHIRPS programme
    • Funders:  GCRF
  • CREWS aims to build caapcity for drought early warning in West Africa
    • Investigators:  Ross Maidment
    • Funders: World Meteorological Organisation

SatWIN and INFORM programme

TAMSAT's financial sector activities have been developed via the SatWIN (Satellite data for Weather Index INsurance) programme, and the follow on project, INFORM (INtegrated FORcasting for Mitigation of risk)

  • INFORM aims to implement the TAMSAT-ALERT technology into the Red Cross early action protocols
    • Investigators/Partners: Emily Black, Vicky Boult (University of Reading), Martin Todd, Dom Kniveton (University of Sussex), Emmah Mwangi, Maurine Ambani (Red Cross), George Otieno (ICPAC), Mary Kiladi (Kenya Meterological Department), Shamton Wararu (National Drought Management Authority)
    • Funders:  GCRF, NERC (SHEAR programme)
  • SatWIN-ALERT aims to integrate the TAMSAT-ALERT soil moisture forecasts and estimates into weather index insurance and forecast based finance initiatives.
    • Investigators: Emily Black, Ross Maidment, Vicky Boult, Tristan Quaife (University of Reading), Rahel Diro, Dan Osgood (IRI), Thabbie Chilongo (Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources)
    • Partners: World Food Programme, Risk Shield, Pula Advisors, Africa Risk Capacity
    • Funders: DFiD, NERC (SHEAR programme)
  • SatWIN-Scale developed a set of methodologies for scaling out index insurance from the local to the national scale
    • Investigators:  Emily Black, Ross Maidment, Matthew Young, Charlie Williams, Elena Tarnavsky, Tristan Quaife (University of Reading)
    • Partners: IRI, Risk Shield
    • Funders:  NERC
  • SatWIN-Toolbox developed a set of tools for adapting rain gauge based WII into satellite data based schemes
    • Investigators: Emily Black, Tristan Quaife, Elena Tarnavsky, Marc Stringer (University of Reading), Agrotosh Mookerjee (MicroEnsure)
    • Partners: Institute for Environmental Analytics, IRI
    • Funders:  Innovate UK

TAMSAT-ALERT drought forecasting programme

In recent years, TAMSAT has extended our meteorological monitoring into a full agricultural drought forecasting system (TAMSAT-ALERT). The projects listed below were instrumental in developing and applying this system

  • TAMSAT-ALERT platform development extended the TAMSAT-ALERT system to work on a high resolution grid, and developed a web interface for the system (in development)
    • Investigators: Emily Black, Ross Maidment (University of Reading), Guy Griffiths, Debbie Clifford (IEA)
    • Partners:  ENACTS, Risk Shield
    • Funders: NERC and Innovate UK
  • Drought Risk Finance Science Laboratory (DRiSL)  aims to develop new ways of comparing monitoring products and services for drought financing
    • Investigators: Martin Todd, Dom Kniveton (University of Sussex), Emily Black, Vicky Boult (University of Reading), Dan Osgood (IRI), Claire Harris (Start Network)
    • Partners:  Global Parametrics, Welt Hunger Hilfe (world without hunger)
    • Funders:  DFiD, NERC (SHEAR programme)
  • TAMASA (Taking Maize Agonomy to ScAle) is a major programme focused on applying novel technologies to maize yield improvement in Ethiopia and Tanzania
    • Investigators:  Peter Craufurd (CIMMYT), Emily Black, Tristan Quaife (University of Reading)
    • Funders:  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • GoatSAT aims to apply the TAMSAT-ALERT approach to forecasting of goat parasite transmission risk in Africa
    • Investigators:  Eric Morgan (University of Belfast), Tristan Quaife, Emily Black (University of Reading), Taro Takahashi (Rothamsted Research), Casper Nyamukondiwa (Botswana International University of Science and Technology), Patson Nalivata (University of Malawi)
    • Partners:  Elephants for Africa, Self Help Africa
    • Funders:  BBSRC
  • Drought risk financing for Pakistan aims to develop an operational drought monitoring programme for finance release in Pakistan
    • Investigators:  Emily Black, Ross Maidment (University of Reading)
    • Partners/Funders: START Network, Save the Children

Africa climate variability and change programme

Assessment of long term variability and change is key to interpreting present day drought risk. TAMSAT has recently participated in a number of climate change focused projects

  • Cocoa and climate change aims to assess the impact of climate change on cocoa cultivation in West Africa, South America and Indonesia
    • Investigators:  Emily Black, Tristan Quaife, Ewan Pinnington, Caroline Wainwright, Patrick MacGuire
    • Funder:  Mars-Wrigley confectionary
  • HyCristal aims to assess the impact of change in the water cycle on the climate of Lake Victoria.
    • Investigators include:   Rosalind Cornforth, Emily Black, Caroline Wainwright (University of Reading), John Marsham (University of Leeds), Dave Rowell (Met Office)
    • Funder:  Future Climate for Africa programme (NERC/DRiD)

UK National Capability

TAMSAT is heavily involved with building the UK's capability for carrying out research relevant to developing countries

  • ACREW aims to build capability for early warning of atmospheric hazard in developing countries
    • Investigators include:  Emily Black, Steve Woolnough, Matthew Young, Caroline Wainwright, Vicky Boult
  • NCEO ODA aims to build capability for exploitation of Earth observation data in developing countries
    • Investigators include: Tristan Quaife, Ewan Pinnington


Selected past projects

Enhancing Resilience to Agricultural Drought in Africa through Improved Communication of Seasonal Forecasts (ERADACS) (Global Challenge Research Fund)
Tristan Quaife, Emily Black

The management of atmospheric hazard in Africa (NERC)
Emily Black, Matt Young

Monitoring the Impact of the 2015/16 El Niño on Rural Water Insecurity in Ethiopia: Learning Lessons for Climate Resilience (NERC)
Emily Black

The influence of lake/wetland-climate feedbacks on African hydroclimate (Leverhulme Trust)
Emily Black, Charlie Williams

BRAVE2: NERC UpGro project on groundwater modelling for Ghana (NERC/DFID)
Emily Black

CCAFS flagship project: CASCAID (USAID)
Emily Black, Ross Maidment

Operational rainfall estimates for Africa (MARSOP 4) (European Commission)
Emily Black, Ross Maidment, Matt Young

Characterising rainfall trends in Africa (NERC studentship)
Caroline Dunning, Emily Black, Richard Allan

Process-based uncertainty estimates for TAMSAT (NCAS-Climate)
Ross Maidment, Emily Black

Improved Rainfall Monitoring for Food Security for Africa (NERC studentship)
Matthew Young, David Grimes, Charlie Williams

Building resilience in Africa, through groundwater resources (BRAVE) (NERC)
Emily Black, Elena Tarnavsky

Operational Rainfall Estimation for Africa (MARSOP Project): Improved Calibration and Validation
Elena Tarnavsky, David Grimes, Marc Stringer, George Dugdale

African Rainfall Estimates for GEONETCast
Elena Tarnavsky

Geostatistical Approaches to Merging Satellite-Based Rainfall Estimates and Rain Gauge Observations
David Grimes, Elena Tarnavsky

30-year Satellite-Based Rainfall Time Series and Climatology for Africa (TARCAT)
Ross Maidment, David Grimes, Richard Allen, George Dugdale, Elena Tarnavsky

Climate Change And Food Security (CCAFS): Rainfall Data Generation and Analysis for African Meteorology
David Grimes, Elena Tarnavsky, Ross Maidment

Ensemble-Based Approach to River Flow Forecasting
Tim Bellerby (University of Hull), David Grimes

Quantitative Crop Yield Forecasting using Seasonal Rainfall Forecasts and Satellite Rainfall Estimates
Helen Greatrex, David Grimes, Tim Wheeler

Satellite-Based Rainfall Estimation for the Arabian Peninsula
Mazen Assiri, David Grimes

Multi-Spectral Rainfall Estimation over Africa using Meteosat Second Generation
Rob Chadwick, David Grimes

Investigation of Neural Network Algorithms for Rainfall Estimation
Erika Coppola, David Grimes

Rainfall Estimation System for the IGAD Region of East Africa as Part of the EU-funded 'Remote Sensing for Food Security' Programme
Rogerio Bonifacio, David Grimes, Iain Russell

Agrometeorological Information System for Sudan as Part of a WFP-funded Famine Vulnerability Assessment Mapping
Rogerio Bonifacio, Iain Russell

Geostatistical Methods for Ensemble Representation of Satellite-Based Rainfall
Chee-Kiat Teo

Improvements in Rainfall Estimation Methodology and Information Dissemination in Southern Africa
Rogerio Bonifacio, David Grimes

Comparison of Rainfall Estimation Techniques for Drought Monitoring, Improvement of Calibration Technique and Climatologies of Northern and Southern Africa from Satellite Rainfall Estimates
Virginia Thorne

Monitoring Agricultural Pest Habitats
Rogerio Bonifacio

Use of Microwave Imagery in Rainfall Estimation and Soil Moisture Measurement
June Morland

Flood Forecasting in the Indus Valley
George Dugdale

Applications of Geostatistics to Rainfall Estimation
Eulogio Pardo

Application of Satellite Data to Hydrology in the Senegal River Basin
Mariane Diop

Investigation of the Impact of Spatial Variability of Rainfall from Convective Storms on the Small-Scale Variability of Soil Moisture in the Sahel
Ian Flitcroft

Relating Line Squalls and Easterly Waves
Mariane Diop

Investigation of Convective Storms over the Sahel
Menghestab Haile

Measurements of Surface Energy and Water Fluxes in the Sahel
George Dugdale