Africa is the continent most vulnerable to natural variations in our climate and human-induced climate change, and to associated extremes like droughts and floods. There is an urgent need to strengthen scientific understanding of the present and future climate and ensure that this knowledge is available and relevant to decision makers.
The Africa Climate Conference 2013 (ACC2013) in Arusha, Tanzania, 15-18 October, aims to strengthen the relationship between the scientific and policy-making communities. It is expected to result in a set of concrete research proposals to address critical gaps in our understanding of the African climate system and to strengthen the science base for decision-making on the continent for the rest of the 21st Century. The Africa Climate Conference is organized under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) and the University of Dar Es Salaam. The first of its kind, the conference brings together more than 300 stakeholders from Africa and around the world (Programme)
The Conference will be opened by H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania. World Meteorological Organization Deputy Secretary-General Jerry Lengoasa is guest speaker, with an address on “Defining a Common Climate Research Agenda for Africa: Addressing Priority Research Gaps to deliver Relevant Climate Services for End-Users in Africa.” WMO is spearheading the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) which aims to improve the provision of climate services like seasonal forecasts and drought monitors to end-users in key sectors such as agriculture and food production, water resources management, disaster risk reduction and health. Special emphasis is being given to the needs of the most vulnerable countries and societies.
The Africa Climate Conference will provide a major opportunity to discuss the implications for Africa of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The World Climate Research Programme made a significant contribution to the assessment .The report, by Working Group I, on the physical science basis of climate change said that global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is projected to be likely to exceed 1.5°C and possibly even 2°C relative to 1850 to 1900. Heat waves are very likely to occur more frequently and last longer. As the Earth warms, it is expected that currently wet regions will receive more rainfall and dry regions will receive less, although there will be regional variations.
The IPCC report included regional perspectives on temperature increase and precipitation according to different scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. For Africa many of these projections are uncertain due to a lack of understanding of the basic physical processes and model limitations. The ACC2013 will identify research needed to address these knowledge gaps and improve future projections.
The outcomes of the Arusha conference will feed into the Third Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA–III) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21–23 October 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is “Africa on the rise: can the opportunities from climate change spring the continent to transformative development”. Senior WMO representatives will attend the session to showcase the work of the Global Framework for Climate Services and the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology.