Thando Ndarana

email:                 [email protected] 
Tel:                    +27 (0) 12 420 5164
Office:               Geography Building 2-5
Consultation:     By appointment

Research profile

Prof. Thando Ndarana is an associate professor in Meteorology in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology (GGM) in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He holds a C1 rating from the National Research Foundation of South Africa. His main research focuses on using synoptic dynamic meteorology diagnostics (e.g. potential vorticity, wave activity fluxes and atmospheric energetics), and dynamical processes and principles (e.g. Rossby wave propagation and breaking) to understand various aspects of rain bearing weather systems over South Africa. He is also interested in the influences of the stratospheric dynamics on weather and climate that occur over South Africa and in the Southern Hemisphere in general.

Ndarana also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in dynamic meteorology and supervises honours, MSc and PhD students.

Ndarana is currently a member of the International Commission of the Middle Atmosphere (ICMA) and the Regulating Committee for Meteorological Services. He is also serves as a Regional Focal Point (RFP) for the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) consultation of the African region. Previously (2014 - 2016), Ndarana served as a member of the Science Steering Group of SPARC - Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate - a core project of the WMO's World Climate Research Project (WCRP).


  • BSc (Mathematics and Applied Mathematics), University of Kwa Zulu-Natal (1990)
  • BScHonours (Meteorology), University of Pretoria (2003)
  • MA (Earth and Planetary Sciences), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA (2008)
  • PhD (Earth and Planetary Sciences), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA (2010)
    Thesis title: Rossby wave breaking in the Southern Hemisphere

Courses presented

  • WKD 261 Physical Meteorology (2018 – 2020)
  • WKD 263 Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology (2016 – present)
  • WKD 315 Mid-latitude and polar meteorology (2023 – present)
  • WKD 351 Atmospheric Balance Laws (2021 – 2022)
  • WKD 706 Dynamic Meteorology (2005 – present)


Scopus H-index | Google Scholar H-index | ORCID ID

Under review

  • Maisha R., Ndarana T., Engelbrecht FA, Thatcher M, Bopape MM. (2022) Simulation of the eThekwini Heat Island in South Africa. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. Submitted
  • Mahlobo D, Engelbrecht F, Ndarana T., Olabanji MF. (2021) Analysis of the Hadley Cell, subtropical anticyclones and their effect on the South African rainfall. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. Submitted.

In press or published

  • Ndarana T, Lekoloane LE, Rammopo TS, Reason CJC, Bopape MM, Chikoore H, and Engelbrecht F. (2023). Downstream development during ridging South Atlantic Ocean anticyclones. Climate Dynamics. Accepted.
  • Mbokodo IL, Bopape MM, Ndarana T, Mbatha SMS, Muofhe TP, Singo MV, Xulu NG, Mohomi T, Ayisi KK, Chikoore H. (2023) Heatwave Variability and Structure in South Africa during Summer Drought. Climate , 11, 38 10.3390/cli11020038.
  • Bopape MM, Engelbrecht FA, Maisha R, Chikoore H, Ndarana T, Lakoloane L, Thatcher M., Mulovhedzi PT, Rambuwani G, Barnes M, Mkhwanazi M, and Mphepya J. (2022) Rainfall Simulations of High-Impact Weather in South Africa with the Conformal Cubic Atmospheric Model (CCAM). Atmosphere, 13(12), 1987 10.3390/atmos13121987
  • Barnes MA, Ndarana T, Sprenger M and Landman WA (2022). Stratospheric intrusion depth and its effect on surface cyclogenesis: An idealized PV intrusion experiment. Weather and Climate Dynamics Discussions, 3, 1291-1309 10.5194/wcd-3-1291-2022
  • Ivanciu I, Ndarana T, Matthes K and Wahl S. (2022) On the ridging of the South Atlantic Anticyclone over South Africa: the impact of Rossby wave breaking and of climate change. Geophysical Research Letters, 49, e2022GL099607, 10.1029/2022GL099607
  • Ndarana T, Rammopo TS, Reason CJC, Bopape M, Engelbrecht FA, and Chikoore H. (2022). Two types of ridging South Atlantic Ocean anticyclones over South Africa and associated dynamical processes. Atmospheric Research, 265, 105897, 10.1016/j.atmosres.2021.105897
  • Bopape MM, Cardoso H, Plant RS, Phaduli E, Chikoore J, Ndarana T, Khalau L and Rakate E. (2021) Sensitivity of tropical cyclone Idai simulations to cumulus  parametrization schemes. Atmosphere. 12, 932. 10.3390/atmos12080932  
  • Olabanji M.F., Davis N., Ndarana T., Kuhudzai A.G., Mahlobo D. (2021). Assessment of smallholder farmers perception and adaptation response to climate change in the Olifants catchment, South Africa.  Journal of Water and Climate Change. 12(7):3388–3403 10.2166/wcc.2021.138
  • Ankabi, T.R, Davis, N, and  Ndarana T. (2021)  Assessing South Africa’s Institutional adaptive capacity to maize production in the context of climate change: Integration of a socio-economic development dimension. Integrate Assessment and Management. Accepted.
  • Barnes M.A., Ndarana T. and Landman W.A (2021) Cut-off lows in the southern Hemisphere and their extension to the surface. Climate Dynamics.56, pp. 3709–3732. 10.1007/s00382-021-05662-7.
  • Akanbi T. R., Davis N., and Ndarana T.(2021) Climate change and Maize production in the Vaal catchment of South Africa: Assessment of Farmers’ Awareness, Perceptions and Adaptation strategies. Climate Research. 82, 17(5)1056-1069. 10.3354/cr01628
  • Barnes M.A., Turner K., Ndarana T. and Landman W.A (2021) Cape Storm: A dynamical study of a cut-off low and its impact on South Africa. Atmospheric Research. 249, 105290. 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105290
  • Chikoore H, Bopape M.M., Ndarana T., Muofhe M., Munyani R.B., Manyanya T.C., and Maisha R. (2021) Synoptic structure of a compound extreme rainfall event in Thohoyandou, north-eastern South Africa. Weather and Climate Extremes. 33, 100327. 10.1016/j.wace.2021.100327
  • Bopape M.M., Sebego E., Ndarana T., Maseko B., Phaduli E., Netshilema M., Gilben M., Landman S., Rambuawani G., van Hermert L. and Mkhwanazi M. (2020) Evaluating South African Weather Service weather information for Idai tropical cyclone and KwaZulu-Natal flood events. South African Journal of Science. 117 (3/4).
  • Lekoloane L.E., Bopape, M.M., Rambuwani G., Ndarana T., Landman S., Mofokeng P., Giljben M., and Mohale N. (2020) A dynamic and thermodynamic analysis of the 11 December 2017 tornadic supercell in the Highveld of South Africa. Weather and Climate Dynamics Discussions. 3, 1-21.
  • Ndarana T., Mpati S., Bopape M. and Engelbrecht F.A. H. and Chikoore (2021). The flow and moisture fluxes associated with ridging South Atlantic Ocean anticyclones during the subtropical southern African summer. International Journal of Climatology. 41: E1000-E1017. 10.1002/joc.6745
  • Ndarana T., Rammopo T.S., Bopape, M, Reason C. and Chikoore H. (2021). Downstream development during South African cut-off pressure systems. Atmospheric Research, 249, 105315 10.1016/j.atmosres.2020.105315
  • Olabanji M.F., Ndarana T. and Davis N. (2021). Impact of climate change on crop production and potential adaptive Measures in the Olifants Catchment, South Africa. Climate, 9(1), 6, 10.3390/cli9010006
  • Somses S., Bopape MH, Ndarana T, Fridlind A, Matsui T, Phaduli E, Limbo A, Maikhudumu S, Maisha R, Rakate E. (2020) Convection parametrization and multi-nesting dependence of a heavy rainfall event over Namibia with Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. Climate, 8, 112. 10.3390/cli8100112.
  • Muofhe T.P., Chikoore H., Bopape M., Nethengwe N.S., Ndarana T. and Rambuawani G.T. (2020) Forecasting intense cut-off lows in South Africa using the 4.4 km Unified Model. Climate, 8(11), 129. 10.3390/cli8110129
  • Olabanji M.F., Ndarana T., Davis N., and Archer E. (2020) Assessment of the impact of climate change on water availability and demand in the Olifants catchment (South Africa) with potential management strategies. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C. 120, 102939.10.1016/j.pce.2020.102939
  • Ndarana T., Rammopo T.S. Chikoore H., Barnes M.A. and Bopape M. (2020) A quasi-geostrophic diagnosis of cut-off low pressure systems over South Africa and surrounding ocean. Climate Dynamics. 55, 2631–264410.1007/s00382-020-05401-4.
  • Ankabi T.R., Ndarana T, Davis N. and Archer E. (2020) Integrated assessment of the influence of climate change on current and future intra-annual water availability in the Vaal River catchment. Journal of Water and Climate Change. 12 (2): 533–551. 10.2166/wcc.2020.269
  • Mahlobo D.D., Ndarana T., Grab S. and Engelbrecht F. (2019). Granger causality of the local Hadley cell and large scale cloud cover over South Africa. South African Journal of Science. 115 (9/10). 10.17159/sajs.2019/5724
  • Mahlobo D.D., Ndarana T., Grab S. and Engelbrecht F. (2019). An integrated climatology and trends of the subtropical Hadley cell, sunshine duration and cloud cover over South Africa. International Journal of Climatology, 39. 1805- 1821. 10.1002/joc.5917
  • Ndarana T., Bopape M., Waugh D. and Dyson L. (2018). The influence of the lower stratosphere on ridging Atlantic Ocean anticyclones over South Africa. Journal of Climate. 31, pp. 6175-6187. 10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0832.1
  • Ratna S., Ratnam J., Behera S., Rautenbach CJDW, Ndarana T., Takahashi K., Yamagata T. (2014). Performance assessment of three convective parameterization schemes in WRF for downscaling summer rainfall over South Africa. Climate Dynamics, 42, pp. 2931-2953. 10.1007/s00382-013-1918-2
  • Mathole R.K., Ndarana T., Beraki A. and Landman W.A. (2013). Impact of stratospheric ozone on seasonal prediction systems. South African Journal of Science. 110, pp. 01-09. 10.1590/sajs.2014/20130161
  • Ndarana T., Waugh D.W., Polvani L.M., Correa G.J.P. and Gerber E.P. (2012). Antarctic ozone depletion and trends in tropospheric Rossby wave breaking. Atmospheric Science Letters, 10.1002/asl.384
  • Ndarana T. and Waugh D.W. (2011). A climatology of Rossby wave breaking in the Southern Hemisphere upper troposphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. 68, pp. 798-811. 10.1175/2010JAS3460.1
  • Ndarana T. and Waugh D.W. (2010). The link between cut-off lows and Rossby wave breaking in the Southern Hemisphere. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society. 136, pp. 869-885. 10.1002/qj.627

Communication, news and views

  • Bopape M., Engelbrecht F., Abiodun B., Beraki A., Ndarana T., Ntsangwane L., Sithole H., Sovora M., and Witi J. (2019). Programme for the development of weather and climate numerical modelling systems in South Africa. South African Journal Science. 115 Number 5/6. 10.17159/sajs.2019/5779

Post-graduate students

Completed or submitted for examination
  • Michael A. Barnes. PhD thesis (2021). The Dynamics of cut-off lows and their vertical extension to the surface. University of Pretoria. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Willem Landman.
  • Remi Ankabi. PhD thesis (2021). Understanding the dynamics and coping mechanisms as deployed by maize producers in the context of a changing climate: The Vaal River catchment as a case study. University of Pretoria. Supervisor: Nerhene Davis, Co-supervisor: Thando Ndarana.
  • Funke M. Olabanji. PhD thesis (2021). Climate change implications on water availability and crop production: Exploring adaptation strategies in the Olifants River Basin, South Africa. University of Pretoria. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Nerhene Davis.
  • Dawn D. Mahlobo. PhD thesis (2019). Dynamics of the Hadley cell and its implications for solar energy resources over South Africa. University of the Witwatersrand. Supervisor: Stefan Grab (University of the Witwatersrand). Co-supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Francois Engelbrecht (University of the Witwatersrand).
  • Kelebogile R. Mathole. MSc Dissertation (2014) Impact of lower stratospheric dynamics on the predictability of summer rainfall over South Africa. University of Pretoria. Supervisor: Willem Landman, Co-supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Asmerom Beraki (South African Weather Service).
Current students
  • Kelebogile R. Mathole. PhD thesis (current). Stratospheric dynamics and predictability over South Africa. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Ted Shepherd (University of Reading), Co-supervisor: Mary-Jane Bopape (South African Weather Service).
  • Robert Maisha. PhD thesis (current). The dynamics of the urban heat island in eThekwini municipality. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Francois Engelbrecht (University of the Witwatersrand), Co-supervisor: Mary-Jane Bopape.
  • Tsholanang S. Rammopo. MSc dissertation (current). The characteristics of Rossby wave packets in the southern African domain. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana.
  • Donald K. Nkabinde. MSc dissertation (current). The links between Rossby wave breaking and outgoing longwave radiation. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana.
  • Mthobisi Nxumalo. MSc dissertation (current). Predictability of tropical temperate troughs at the medium range time scale. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana.
  • Ishmael Moyo. MSc dissertation. The dynamics and medium range predictability of continental tropical lows. Supervisor: Thando Ndarana, Co-supervisor: Liesl Dyson.
- Author Barend van der Merwe

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