Read the Course Guide

This guide includes important information about the course objectives, schedule, assessment, communication approach, evaluation, instructors list and more. Make sure you read this carefully before starting the course. Downloadable version available here.

1. Course overview and objectives

Welcome to the course!

We are happy to have you here and we look forward to an exciting learning journey together. This journey starts here. This guide has been prepared to provide you with a quick and useful introduction to the course. 

Have fun learning,

The instructors


This online course has been designed for operational forecasters. Before you join our course, we assume that you are able to:

  • Understand the conceptual models of anticyclones, ITCZ, tropical lows, fog and low clouds, convective systems and dust storms.
  • Interpret single channel and RGB imagery and other satellite data, as described in the "Basic Interpretation of Satellite Imagery" lesson you completed before entering the course.

By the end of the five week course we are hoping that you will have improved your skills in:

  • Identifying key weather systems and features found in Africa and their characteristics in satellite imagery and products; and
  • Be a competent user of virtual course technology; and
  • Develop relationships with course participants via the discussion forums and online briefings.

The systems and features that are addressed in this course include: ITCZ, anticyclones, tropical lows, convective systems, dust storms and fog and low clouds. Please note that the course only addresses system/feature identification in satellite imagery, it does not cover forecasting. For each one of these topics, you will be working through a series of guided exercises on your own. You will identify them in the course as ‘PRACTICE: ITCZ’, ‘PRACTICE: Convection’ and so on. These exercises are not graded. You are encouraged to complete them as many times as you need.

These exercises are each supplemented by group discussions. We will use forums in order to start a discussion on the topics listed above. You will identify them in the course as e.g. ‘DISCUSS Synoptic-scale’. We encourage you to make extensive use of forums to ask questions, share your experience with your colleagues and comment on others’ responses. The more you contribute to the forum, the more opportunities you have for learning and successfully completing the course.

Besides guided exercises and group discussions, a number of reading resources and additional training modules are available to you. Find these listed in the Resources block (left side of the course page). We invite you to use these throughout the course at your own pace.

To have more opportunities to learn together, we organize a bi-weekly get-together using a live meeting environment using Webex. In these live meetings you have a chance to meet your fellow participants and instructors and exchange ideas with them. Even though the live meetings are not mandatory, we warmly encourage you to make time available to attend them.

An online Coffee room will provide you with the opportunity to chat in real time with your fellow course colleagues and instructors every Friday starting August 9th, between 09:00 - 12:00am UTC.

Please note that you must complete the Pre-course quiz to unlock the course content. You can take the quiz twice, but your first attempt will be recorded. While the quiz is graded, the score will not influence your chances of successfully completing the course.

This course is supported by Moodle, a course management system. If you have any questions or issues using the platform, you may refer to the online guide, or contact your trainers or drop us an email at