Climate change are already taking its toll on the African continent. It has never been more crucial that robust scientific information relating to the inevitable and escalating climate shocks reach beyond the scientific community and into the realm of policy makers, development and aid organisations, and communities on the ground.
When climate scientists and researchers from the global South work in collaboration with their counterparts in the North, there will always be a diversity of skills, competence, and varying levels of confidence shared amongst a team. A group's dynamics will also play out against a backdrop of historic power imbalances, and differences in funding and research opportunities within home institutions.
A recent study amongst a group of climate researchers involved in Future Climate for Africa (FCFA), a four-year South-North collaboration, confirms that expertly-facilitated, face-to-face meetings are still the best way to create inclusive research partnerships. ‘Collective learning’ was central to how the research collaborations were structured over the four years. These different learning processes allowed all stakeholders, and particularly the Southern researchers, to be involved with identifying what the climate-related research needs were in their areas, and then conceptualise, design, and conduct the appropriate research to fill those gaps.
Southern Africa is one of the few land-based regions in the world for which climate models are in agreement that rainfall will decline as the planet warms. This projected rainfall decline is strongest in the southern hemisphere spring, and manifests as a delay in the onset of the summer rainy season. However, this drying occurs in the context of a poorly understood climate, and so scientists don’t really understand why the models all display such clear agreement. Recent work by UMFULA has aimed to produce a better understanding of the weather systems that form the building blocks of the southern African climate system, in order to address this issue.
Welcome to the June 2020 edition of the Future Climate for Africa newsletter showcasing the recent highlights and work of FCFA.
Several dams and hydro-power schemes are being considered for development in Tanzania’s Rufiji River Basin. A new online tool will allow decision makers to consider competing water interests across the entire basin, which will identify infrastructure opportunities or inform operational policies relating to these developments.
FCFA sponsors African journalists as part of an environmental reporting programme with Climate Home News
Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change due to both its high exposure and low adaptive capacity. It is important to increase the understanding of climate change amongst communities. However, climate change is a complex issue to communicate, with many journalists struggling to report on climate change in a language that is accessible but doesn’t lose the scientific rigour.
In this article, Zablone Owiti (Research fellow, CCKE) reflects on how the first virtual GHACOF was different from the previous in-person events and what lessons we can draw from it to improve future virtual events in the region.
55th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum: HyCRISTAL discusses recent floods, climate change and actions needed
As the triple threats of floods, locusts and Covid-19 unfold in East Africa, all arguably linked to the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, ICPAC (IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre) convened the fifty fifth Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Form (GHACOF55) virtually for the first time. The HyCRISTAL presentation generated valuable discussion on what we do and don’t know about future change, rainfall intensification, tropical cyclones, and how climate change may or may not have contributed to the extreme weather of the last year.
HyCRISTAL has spent the past four years exploring how to draw together the experiences of people living through typical flood events in East African cities, with local governments’ planning and the scientific information coming from climate researchers. The goal is to support local governments with better climate adaptation and planning, incorporating the knowledge and experience of affected stakeholders.