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Tropical applications of meteorology using satellite data and ground-based observations (TAMSAT)


National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), National Centre for Earth Obervations (NCEO), European Commission Joint Research Centre

Project Team

Emily Black, Ross Maidment, Matthew Young







Key Contact

Emily Black


water, disaster management




TAMSAT enhances the capacity of African meteorological agencies and other organisations by providing and supporting the use of satellite-based rainfall estimates and related data products.

TAMSAT was established by the University of Reading in 1977. TAMSAT has developed close collaborations with the Climate Division of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) to extend the range of climate services it provides. These collaborations are supporting the development of new datasets and other products, including rainfall estimate uncertainties, full column soil moisture, and probabilistic forecasts of drought.

Our impact

More than three and a half decades on, the TAMSAT group still provide operational rainfall estimates to all of Africa using a simple, yet effective rainfall estimation algorithm which is based on the use of cold cloud duration (CCD) fields derived from the satellite imagery. Over the years, many African meteorological services and other agencies or organisations have depended on this data for a range of applications such as flood and drought monitoring, famine early warning and weather index-based insurance schemes (e.g. Figure 3), helping millions of people to manage the highly variable rainfall climate that characterises much of the African continent.

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