Category: News

WMO looks ahead to Africa Climate Conference

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.

Climate Change

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.

Conference Themes

  • To support strategic ahead-of-season planning (1-month to 12-months outlook)
  • To support intra-seasonal risk monitoring and management to inform within-season operations (5 to 40 days range)
  • To support longer-term strategic planning/policy development (next 1-10 years)
  • To support Climate change adaptation policy development/planning (next 50 years)
  • Assessing the current vulnerability due to recent climate events
  • Estimation of the impacts of climate variability and change
  • Decision making at local scales
  • Building credibility and confidence in predictions, across timescales
  • Mainstreaming climate services into policy formulation and decision making, at all timescales

 

Conference Aims

  • To identify the state of knowledge on the African climate system, recognizing current gaps in climate knowledge;
  • To define and drive an African agenda for future climate research that will inform adaptation decisions out to the mid- to end 21st Century.;
  • To develop a framework for mainstreaming climate information into decision making,
  • To establish a network of experts who translate this knowledge into practical applications in areas such as agriculture and food production, water resources management, risk management and adaptation planning.

 

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.

 

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Frontiers in African Climate Science Research and Applications

The Africa Climate Conference 2013, October 15-18, 2013 in Arusha (Tanzania), aims to narrow the communications gap currently existing between African decision-makers and climate scientists and to develop a coordinated collaborative research strategy to enhance climate science outputs so that they may better inform climate early warning responses and adaptation in Africa.

The Conference Steeering Committee has prepared a “living document” which outlines, in the context of global climate initiatives, the key research frontiers for African climate that will be addressed.  In a departure from usual practice, motivated by the imperative of ‘mainstreaming use of climate information in decision making’, research priorities are ordered according to their alignment with emerging priority needs for African users. As part of its activities the conference will review and validate these ‘frontier’ research priorities (see also the conference concept note).

Africa may be considered a natural partner in initiatives to advance and make practical use of international climate research. African climate variability is of fundamental importance to many global climate phenomena currently targeted by the international research community.  Examples include at sub-seasonal timescales the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) – important for intra-seasonal rainfall variability in Africa; at longer timescales, basin-scale sea surface temperature fluctuations – important drivers of African seasonal drought and flood, and at still longer timescales, decadal ocean variability – a potential driver of decadal oscillations in rainfall such as seen in the Sahel.

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), has defined global research frontiers and imperatives and, through its core projects, is delivering research and databases to advance, among other topics, climate model improvement, sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction, decadal prediction, climate change scenarios and understanding, climate extremes prediction and sea-level rise. For sub-seasonal timescales, collaborative projects with the World Weather Research Programme (WWRP) are addressing predictability and interactions between weather and climate timescales – notably the role of tropical convection. In these initiatives the challenge of making research results useful and easily accessible to end users such as adaptation planners and policy makers is explicitly recognized. Adequate observations of climate are essential to all the above activities and in this context the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) programme is coordinating development of the observational resources needed for climate research, monitoring, prediction and national development.

The year 2012 has seen the approval of the Implementation Plan of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) – a major international initiative developing under the United Nations (UN) system and led by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).  Building on the activities and initiatives described above, as well as others, the GFCS aims to mainstream value-added climate information for decision makers through user-driven and science-based activities. The structure of the GFCS is based on 5 components or Framework ‘pillars’: observations and monitoring; research, modeling and prediction; a system for climate service provision; a user interface platform and capacity building.

There is thus a strong context of global infrastructure development, research and other initiatives with direct relevance to the African continent. The African Climate Conference 2013 will provide a forum to assemble and review these activities, and a means of channeling their relevance for Africa in a coordinated focus on African climate research and user-driven climate services.

More information at http://www.climdev-africa.org/content/acc2013Frontiers

Advancing Research to Inform Adaptation Decisions in Africa

Advancing African Climate Science Research & Knowledge to Inform Adaptation Decision-Making in Africa

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.  The expected outcome from the conference is a set of concrete research proposals to address the critical gaps in our understanding of the African climate system and to lay the foundations for science-based decision-making for the rest of the 21st Century

The conference seeks to foster the twin-track approach of researching the use of existing climate information for decision-making, while improving predictability and skill of climate science outputs (ACPC, 2011) by catalyzing activities across the continent for improved and more salient climate science

ACC13 is organized under the auspices of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) and the Universty of Dar Es Salaam. The first of its kind, the conference brings together more than 300 stakeholders from Africa and around the world.

The conference will:

  • identify the state of knowledge on the African climate system, recognizing current gaps in climate knowledge;
  • define and drive an African agenda for future climate research that will inform adaptation decisions out to the mid- to end 21st Century.;
  • develop a framework for mainstreaming climate information into decision making,
  • establish a network of experts who translate this knowledge into practical applications in areas such as agriculture and food production, water resources management, risk management and adaptation planning.

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 www.climdev-africa.org/ccda

For more information: http://www.climdev-africa.org/acc2013

AMCOMET works to strengthen national meteorological services in Africa

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 3.45.44 PMThe African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) has launched a new, improved website to give greater visibility to its work in fostering political will to strengthen National Meteorological and Hydrological Services, enabling them to improve the delivery of weather, climate and water services in Africa and to promote sustainable socio-economic development.

The launch of the new website http://www.wmo.int/amcomet/ comes ahead of two major climate conferences in Africa. The Africa Climate Conference, 15-19 October 2013, in Arusha, Tanzania, focuses on Addressing Priority Research Gaps to Inform Decision-Making in Africa. This will be followed by the Third Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa in Ethiopia 21-23 October 2013 which aims to share experiences, assess how Africa is coping with impacts of climate change, and seek ways of strengthening Africa’s ability to better prepare the continent for transformative development.

Africa is particularly vulnerable to weather and climate extremes such as drought and flooding and to the impact of natural climate variability and human-induced climate change.
Despite covering a fifth of the world’s total land area, Africa has the least developed weather and climate land-based observation network of all continents, and faces severe human, financial and technological constraints, and obsolete technologies limiting their capabilities to produce the best services needed by policy makers and other decision-makers.
In order to respond to these challenges and improve the level of services, AMCOMET was established in 2010 during the First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya. It acts as a permanent forum to provide political leadership, policy direction and advocacy in the provision of weather, water and climate information and services. African ministers convene every two years to discuss matters related to the development ofmeteorology and its applications and its contributionto the socio-economic development in Africa.

The Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services), adopted during the Second Session of AMCOMET and subsequently endorsed by the African Union, positions weather and climate services as essential components in national and regional development framework and sustainable development in Africa, particularly in poverty reduction efforts and adaptation climate variability and change. Its objectiveis to promote political cooperation and streamline policies between African countries and advocate for sound decision-making based on robust science.

The Strategy is also a key component in the implementation of a structured Global Framework for Climate Service (GFCS) in Africa, focusing on the priority areas of food security, water management, disaster risk reduction and health.

ACC2013: Linking Science and Policy

Policymakers need the best available science in order to craft effective responses to local, national and regional challenges. At the same time, scientists need feedback from policy makers and the wider user community to develop research priorities and respond to stakeholder needs.

The Africa Climate Conference 2013 will strengthen the two-way dialogue between the policy and research communities as the basis for addressing the challenges and opportunities associated with climate variability and change in Africa.

Some of the potential links between climate science and climate policies that the conferences will explore include:

• Managers responsible for public health, water supplies and food production can improve their decisions with better access to short-term climate forecasts (from days to months and seasons). To achieve this, researchers need to improve their understanding of smaller scale phenomena such as convective rain-bearing systems.
• Farmers, disaster-risk managers and other stakeholders need advance warnings of extreme floods and droughts at least six months ahead. To provide such warnings, researchers need to improve seasonal forecasts by, for example, gaining a better understanding of how the El Niño/Southern Oscillation and other global climate patterns affect Africa.
• Investments in transport and energy infrastructure require climate forecasts of at least a decade. Scientists need to increase their understanding of the drivers of natural decadal variability over Africa and its interaction with global climate change.
• Many adaptation measures are based on the local climate of 50-100 years ahead. Researchers need to downscale projections of the future global climate to regional, national and local levels. They must also observe and model regional influences such as land-use and land-cover changes.
• To better understand future impacts, policymakers need to better understand vulnerability to current climate events. This will require more and improved ground-based observation networks in Africa. Better databases are also needed on crop yields, river flows, health related matters admissions and other socioeconomic variables.
• African institutions are closer to the continent’s end-users of climate information, and so need greater capacity to meet complex challenges.