Bamba Adama: Ivoirian scientist embraces technology to improve understanding of climate change
FCFA is training African scientists in new skills and methodologies to study the African climate. Bamba Adama participated in a week-long workshop on climate modelling at the University of Leeds, organised by the AMMA-2050 project in December 2016.
Bamba Adama has a doctorate in climate science and now teaches at Côte d’Ivoire’s largest university – but he’s still eager to learn more about climate change at every opportunity.
From his early student days, Dr Adama used to visit his home village in the north of Côte d’Ivoire, and see how farmers lost ruinous amounts of money on failed crops because they had mis-judged the weather and climate. “They would have to simply start all over again,” said Dr Adama, in a recent interview in Leeds, UK. “All of this gave me an idea of how I can help them. If possible, I could help by providing information about climate change and meteorology.”
Dr Adama travelled to Leeds, UK as part of a group of early career African scientists sponsored by the Future Climate for Africa’s Africa Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA-2050) team in December 2016, to learn Python: a computer language that is useful across many climate modelling platforms.
“Why this training? It’s really important – it’s technology transfer in action,” Dr Adama said. “Of course, in our country we are learning things, but when you take part in this kind of workshop, you meet people who can teach you about further computational tools, which are very important for us.”
Training a trainer
As a lecturer at Université Félix Houphouët Boigny, Dr Adama sees vast opportunity for him to share these transferable skills with successive classes of students: “If you do not have tools, how can you work in the country? Sometimes you go out, go to Europe to work on them and be able to teach them when you are back. We have many students and all of them cannot come. I will be the trainer and when I am back, I need to start teaching Python to the masters students..”
Dr Adama also has immediate plans for applying his new skill to research in the AMMA-2050 project, which is seeking to better understand the dynamics of the west African monsoon and project its trends to the year 2050.
Researching how land, atmosphere and climate interact
“In the project, I want to look at the impact of land-surface change on climate variables in west Africa,” explained Dr Adama. “In west Africa right now, we are facing decreases in forest cover.
So if I can look at the impact of this change on the temperature increase and extreme events that we are facing now, this is going to be good. We all know the change in land surface will decrease the rainfall and increase the temperature, but the climate has so many components that we need to isolate the impacts.”
Politicians, business people and resource managers making decisions sometimes lack knowledge of the climate sciences, added Dr Adama. His aim is to better understand the linkages between land surface changes and the west African climate and to present that information in crystal-clear ways that decision-makers can understand.
From decisions at the farm level to high level policy decisions, being armed with robust science will enable his team to provide “constructive suggestions,” he said. His plans will start with publishing his future findings in academic journals, followed by meetings with decision-makers and campaigns on social media to spread the word.