The session aimed at coming up with concrete proposals on modelling and predicting climate impacts. The session was held in Mbayuwayu room chaired by Jim Hansen and it was guided by the following questions:
What is the state of knowledge?
What are the user’s needs?
What Gap is in the knowledge?
The Chair posed the following questions:
Are impact studies user driven?
How do they relate to decision making?
How well do they reflect what users require in climate science?
Do they build in climate science or are they constrained by gaps in climate information?
Several papers were presented in the session, including those on modelling and prediction on rainfall projection (Gianini Alssandra IRI). Others were on the link between agriculture and climate change in relation to prediction of agricultural crop yields and adaptation strategies of farmers (Nathalie Philippon- the University of Bourgogne).
Andy Morse of the University of Liverpool presented a proposal on epiclimatology. Epiclimatology was presented as a new discipline intending to establish the link between climate and health. The presenter noted that there are a number of studies on the relation between climate and water (hydrometeorology), or agriculture and climate (agrometereology) but none on climate and health. Jacues-Andre Ndione, presenting a paper on climate change and rift valley fever, showed that there is a link between climate and diseases. Similar presentation was done by Adrian Tompkins, ICTP, who looked into the relation between climate and malaria.
The other growing area on climate change is on economics in which one of the papers was on climate change and electricity consumption. A model to establish the
link between the two variables was applied in different African countries. It was found out that in some of these countries, the climate change cause an increased consumption of electricity while in others it is either urbanization or an increase in income that causes changes in electricity consumption.
Another link between climate change and economy was presented in a paper which examined impact of climate change on road infrastructure. A model to test the two variables was applied to different types of roads to see what impact they had on climate change.
In the end, it was noted that we can’t attribute everything to climate change. While climate change still remains the main driver, other factors such as mismanagement may need to be taken into account . As far as the needs of the end users are concerned, the lack of data was mentioned as one of the challenges inhibiting agriculture extension officers to use the tools provided.
Some other issues which were raised included: the need to use validated models over non-validated models; the need for ministries to sit together ; the need to use statistical models over regional models; and the need to improve climate services in agriculture and hydrology. It was also proposed that there should be the increased use of GIS instead of weather stations, and that the stakeholders should be cautious before recommending any adaptation projects because they cost a lot .