14 July 2005
South Africa has opened an SADC MeteoSat Training Centre at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria.
The MeteoSat Second Generation satellite, launched in 2002, has a constant view of the continent, providing invaluable information to African meteorologists.
Technical training at the centre will cover the ground receiving system, hardware and maintenance of the equipment. The scientific part of the training involves training operational scientists such as forecasters in the use of MeteoSat data.
The first training session of African system analysts and meteorologists started in June.
The SA Weather Service was selected as the third training centre for MeteoSat training in Africa. Other centres are in Kenya and Niger.
The inauguration of the centre was made possible by funding from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Eumetsat, the UK and the European Union.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said the SA Weather Service had, over the past four years, gone from being fully government-funded to being an income-generating agency of the department.
The SA Weather Service is a member of the World Meteorological Organisation, and provides assistance and exchanges knowledge on weather forecast and related issues with African and Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.