Statistical Services Centre

Applied Statistics at the University of Reading
...making sense of statistics

e-SIAC: Statistics in Applied Climatology

What is e-SIAC?


National Meteorological Services and other bodies routinely record and store climatic data. Appropriate statistical analyses of these datasets provide essential information for agricultural activities, for food security and in disaster planning. For example, information on climate variability is important to prepare for the impact of future climate change. Increasingly, statistical analyses are yielding benefits in other sectors such as health, construction and tourism.

Statistics in Applied Climatology (SIAC) training courses give people working with climatic data the skills they need to use historical datasets effectively. With such skills, people can produce relevant, tailored outputs that, in turn, enable end-users to make better decisions.

The e-SIAC programme is an innovative, web-based, e-learning venture which has been developed to make the SIAC training more widely available - both to NMS (National Meteorological Service) staff, and to climatic data users in other sectors. E-SIAC is directed primarily - but not exclusively - towards climatic data users and producers in Africa.

The e-SIAC course is an online, facilitated training activity that takes place over a period of about three months, with a break in the middle of 1 week. It is designed as a part-time activity to be taken in the participant's normal workplace. This makes it cost-effective, and also accessible to those who may not have the time to attend a residential training course.

The course is managed and facilitated by staff of the SSC, with support from the Met Office in the UK, and WMO.

Course Outline


  • Topic 1: Introduction
  • Topic 2: Tailored Products and Start of the Rains
  • Topic 3: A Changing World
  • Topic 4: Descriptive Statistics
  • Topic 5: Calculating and Presenting Results

Break of one week

  • Topic 6: CAST and Risks
  • Topic 7: More Events
  • Topic 8: The Seasonal Forecast
  • Topic 9: Presenting Information to Farmers
  • Topic 10: Review

Course Organisation


The course is divided into ten topics, each one of which is completed in a week. Assignments are set for each topic, and submitted online. An electronic certificate is given to those who complete the course.

The work is part-time and can be done at times of the day to suit the convenience of the individual student. It takes an average of 8 hours per week. e-SIAC can be taken on its own or as a part of a broader SIAC programme that includes face-to-face training and applied work.

So they can spend time during the working week taking part in the training, prospective students should seek permission - and expect encouragement - from their employers.

The work is largely computer-based, so students must be computer literate. Students will need regular access to a computer that has internet connectivity.

Course Dates


To be confirmed


Duration: 11 weeks (10 working weeks with 1 week break)

Price: please contact us

No discounts are available for this course


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Page last updated: October 09 2017 14:01:23.