Project start: 01.01.2018
Duration: 3 years
Project lead: Harald Kunstmann
Involved scientists: Joël Arnault, Jan Bliefernicht, Cornelia Klein, Diarra Dieng und Luitpold Hingerl
West Africa is considered one of the poorest regions in the world. The livelihood of a large part of the local population is subsistence farming, without the possibility to build up reserves for years of low poverty. A changing climate can therefore have serious consequences for the livelihoods of many people, especially in this region. The situation is further exacerbated by the rapid growth in population and the associated increasing demand for resources such as agricultural land or drinking water. To counteract these problems, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has launched an initiative with German and West African institutions to establish a competence center for climate change and adapted land use in West Africa (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use, WASCAL ) started. A primary goal of the competence center is, among other things, the development of adapted land use to mitigate negative impacts of climate and land use change on humans and the environment in West Africa. The establishment of the competence center is flanked by three further core activities:
- the establishment of cross-border observational networks to record the effects of climate change and land use change;
- the implementation of an interdisciplinary research program to enhance the analytical capabilities of the Center of Competence;
- the establishment of several graduate and master programs for climate change and related topics in the West African WASCAL countries.
The University of Augsburg is decisively involved in the initiation and realization of the individual activities. In the graduate program, she is the principal partner of the Federal University of Technology at Akure (FUTA), Nigeria, which hosts the WASCAL Graduate School "West African Climate System".
The Department of Regional Climate and Hydrology is responsible for the coordination and execution of activities in the Research Cluster "Climate and Weather". The primary objective is to develop a regional climate modeling system to refine information from global climate models and to provide improved regional climate projections for West Africa. The core of this model system is a fully coupled atmospheric-hydrological model, complemented among others by multivariate statistical methods for bias correction and local refinement. The regional climate model system is a central tool in WASCAL, for For example, to study and quantify the effects of adapted land use on the atmosphere and hydrology. Another goal is the development of techniques for the prediction of hydro-meteorological extremes and hydrologically and agronomically significant quantities. The techniques are tested and evaluated for specific regions such as the main study areas in WASCAL. The method development is framed by the construction of climate and eddy covariance stations to record significant climate variables and to analyze the exchange processes between land surface and ground level atmosphere.
All work is done in close cooperation with the Institute for Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Center for Development Research of the University of Bonn, the German Climate Data Center, the German Institute of Aerospace Engineering, the Climate Department of the Competence Center, FUTA, the national and international meteorological services in West Africa and many other national and international WASCAL partners.