Republic of Sierra Leone

Meteorological Department


Sierra Leone was the Head Quarter (HQ) of the then British West African Meteorological Services that was established in 1923.

The Sierra Leone Meteorological Department, an offshoot of the British West African Meteorological Service, was established on April 27, 1961

The responsibilities of the department are as follows:

  • Safety and well being of citizen and their protection against severe weather situation and devastation from natural disasters.
  • Provision of reliable climatic data to facilitate project design for agricultural planning and implementation, water supply systems, infrastructure, tourism etc.
  • Contributing to the socio economic (including proving end-user services for agricultural, marine, etc) development of the country.
  • Ensuring maintenance of the quality of the nation’s environment
  • Carry our weather and climate related activities  e.g. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Climate Change Services (CCS), Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and  Degradation (REDD), National Communications (NCs), etc

With a thin staff and few weather stations, the department was able to provide most of its assigned responsibilities especially in:

  • Aviation meteorological services for both domestic and international air transportation.
  • Provision of data and services for related disciplines such as Agriculture, Marine, Construction, Hydrology, Tourism, Media, Public etc.
  • All of these have been accomplished against the backdrop of a thin staff, poor logistics and a restrictive budget. The dependenceon government budgetary support and service has combined to make the Department a comparatively unattractive one.
  • Those receiving services give nothing in return to the department at least to improve it either in logistics or incentive to the staff at least for service recognition since it is at the moment not yet autonomous.

However the period under review was one of the busiest for the department as various issues were addressed by the directorate.  This range from works involving the installation of four (4) Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) that were provided by IFAD at Koidu, Kabala, Kenema and Kailahun which added to the five (5) AWS previously supplied to us by the Spanish Government with Technical Training done by the United Kingdom Meteorological Office (UK MET Office) to the disaster Management, the food Security Early Warning System (SEWS) and the second National Communication (SNC) of the Climate Change Project (CCP) and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) capacity needs Assessment among others. This also added to our three minor weather stations at Makeni, Bo and Bonthe

 In each of the above, we were required to make the necessary input as focal point institution for the formulation of the necessary document for the implementation of the specific aspect of Climate Change Adaptation/ Mitigation options that the country will adopt for addressing some of the effects of Climate Change

Types of Weather/Climate related Services

  •  These are given Aviation/Maritime, Agriculture, Public Weather/Climate Services, Research institutions/Construction and commercial users, Global Framework of Climate Services, etc

1.1     What we have done

We have been carrying out most of our core functions especially in Aviation, Marine and the Agriculture sectors.

  • Due to the shortage of staff and in preparation for the new stations that were planned to be established, we requested the Human Resource Management Office HRMO to recruit thirty (30) meteorological Observers, three (3) Meteorological Officers and three (3) Pupil Meteorologists. We are still awaiting their action on this matter.
  • We are collaborating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security I (MAFFS) in FEWSNET/CILSS Food Security Monitoring and Early Warning System.
  • Our service to the Aviation, Marine, environment, disaster management etc cannot be overemphasized for the simple reason that no Aircraft or Ship accidents have occurred in our country despite the growing number of fleets in this vital service which is due to the delivery of good meteorological services in these areas. 

Our participation in the yearly-PRESAO- July, August and September (JAS) Forecast exercise made us to introduce the Early Warning Systems and Seasonal Forecasting Mechanism (Planning/ Training stage). For this year’s JAS Forecast, we requested the Water Resource Ministry to participate. Mr Juana represented them and after this seasonal forecast preparation, I Presented the Forecast Result to the Nation on SLBC and Radio Democracy. We only hope that as we appealed to planning and NGO offices, that we get the sponsorship for at least one person for the training session in Niamey, Niger in the May, 2016 for us continue this vital service of seasonal forecasting.

1.3       Clearance for the third National Communication

The national communications are the periodic assessment of countries sources and sinks of greenhouse gases taking into consideration the national circumstances and the necessary solutions to address the likely effects of the perceived climate change issues. The compilation is one of the obligations of countries to the United Nations Frame Work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The work is done under the Ministry of Transport and Aviation in the Climate Change Project (CCP).

We Third National Communication (TNC) is more than half way through as most of the activities were done last including the compilation of the Inventory, Systematic Observation and the mitigation assessment. The relevant project document can be accessed on the CCP-SL website as “Project Cooperation Agreement (PCA) for the Third National Communication Project” The TNC project was launched in February this year by the Hon Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation on behalf of the Ministry of Transport and Aviation. From the cooperation from GEF, the implementation of the TNC is done under United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 

1.4       United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) project. “Evolution of protected Area {PA} system with regard to climate change in the West Africa Region”

This project was developed during our sub regional planning meeting in Dakar in 2012 in preparation for the Duban Conference of parties (COP17) as one of our sub regional concern/ effort in addressing the rapid deforestation (recipe for Global Warming/climate change). The forest divisional heads of each country were invited to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where this project was formulated. Before the departure of the team, we gave our input from the metrological point of view to include the erection of weather/climate monitoring station in each of the protected areas, the collaborative undertaking of scientific research with other stakeholders in climate modelling and mapping for species movement and necessary control measures. The Meteorological department is a member of the steering committee that was set to monitor the implementation of the project and the project Document can also be a “United Nation programme- Evolution of protected Area (PA) system with regard to Climate Change in the West Africa region”

It is in the pilot phase that is being undertaking in Chad, The Gambia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Togo. It is a Global Environment Facilities (GEF) funded project that is under the direct supervision of the Environment protection Agency-Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) but with the forest division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFF) and the Meteorological Department as key players.

The various expert teams were given their respective task of data and information needed for presentation in the next meeting scheduled for October this year.

1.5       Strengthening Climate information and Early Warning system in Western and Central Africa for Climate resilient Development and Adaptation to Climate Change-Sierra Leone.

During the COP17 in December, 2011, the issue of Early Warning System (EWS) was presented as a concern and capacity need for our region. A task force was set up for the formulation of a project that will address this issue. The Director and Dr. Bangura of EPA-SL represented Sierra Leone and drafted our project document with input from MAFF, Ministry of Health (MOH) and other stakeholders. These documents from the respective countries were forwarded through UNEP and used to get the regional project mentioned above.

The Meteorological Department is also represented on the expert group for the project implementation. We held the project inception workshop at Kenema on Wednesday, 4th July, 2014 where we were given our expected roles during the project implementation. It is based under the crop Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.

The project document is known as “gef- project Identification Form (PIF)” for Sierra Leone on the GEF website under ‘funded projects’ for your attention.

MET continue to play active role in activities of the project by providing the necessary meteorological data needed for the Meteorological Module of the FSEWS