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HyCRISTAL Project in East Africa

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The HyCRISTAL project Team was hosted by the Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences today, September 21, 2015 in the Forestry Conference Room and discussed the project. Dr. John Marsham a Co-PI of the project from University of Leads and Mr. Geoffrey Sabiiti who is a Co-PI from Makerere University presented the project overview.

The Head of the Department congratulated the team behind the HyCRISTAL project and reiterated the Department’s and the University’s support to successfully support the implementation of the project.

The meeting was attended by Geoffrey Sabiiti, Saul Daniel Ddumba, Fredrick Tumwine (PhD), Shuaib Lwasa (PhD), Yazidhi Bamutaze (PhD), Alex Nimusiima, Paul Mukwaya (PhD), Charles Basalirwa (PhD), Hassan Virji (PhD) and John Marsham (PhD).

Project Abstract

East Africa (EA) has one of the world’s fastest growing populations, with maxima around water-bodies and rapid urbanisation. Climate change is adding to existing problems increasing vulnerability of the poorest. HyCRISTAL is driven by EA priorities. EA communities rely on rainfall for food via agriculture. EA’s inland lakes are rain-fed and provide water, power and fisheries. For EA’s growing cities, climate impacts on water resources will affect water supply & treatment. HyCRISTAL will therefore operate in both urban & rural contexts.

Change in water availability will be critical for climate-change impacts in EA, but projections are highly uncertain for rain, lakes, rivers and groundwater, and for extremes. EA “Long-Rains” are observed to be decreasing; while models tend to predict an increase (the “EA Climate paradox”) although predictions are not consistent. This uncertainty provides a fundamental limit on the utility of climate information to inform policy. HyCRISTAL will therefore make best use of current projections to quantify uncertainty in user-relevant quantities and provide ground-breaking research to understand and reduce the uncertainty that currently limits decision making.

HyCRISTAL will work with users to deliver world-leading climate research quantifying uncertainty from natural variability, uncertainty from climate forcings including those previously unassessed, and uncertainty in response to these forcings; including uncertainties from key processes such as convection and land-atmopshere coupling that are misrepresented in global models. Research will deliver new understanding of the mechanisms that drive the uncertainty in projections. HyCRISTAL will use this information to understand trends, when climate-change signals will emerge and provide a process-based expert judgement on projections. Working with policy makers, inter-disciplinary research (hydrology, economics, engineering, social science, ecology and decision-making) will quantify risks for rural & urban livelihoods, quantify climate impacts and provide the necessary tools to use climate information for decision making.

HyCRISTAL will work with partners to co-produce research for decision-making on a 5-40 year timescale, demonstrated in 2 main pilots for urban water and policies to enable adaptive climate-smart rural livelihoods. These cover two of three “areas of need” from the African Ministerial Council on Environment’s Comprehensive Framework of African Climate Change Programmes. HyCRISTAL has already engaged 12 partners from across EA. HyCRISTAL’s Advisory Board will provide a mechanism for further growing stakeholder engagement.

HyCRISTAL will work with the FCFA global & regional projects and CCKE, sharing methods, tools, user needs, expertise & communication. Uniquely, HyCRISTAL will capitalise on the new LVB-HyNEWS, an African-led consortium, governed by the East African Community, the Lake Victoria Basin Commission and National Meteorological and Hydrological agencies, with the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology as an observer.

HyCRISTAL will build EA capacity directly via collaboration (11 of 25 HyCRISTAL Co-Is are African, with 9 full-time in Africa), including data collection and via targeted workshops and teaching. HyCRISTAL will deliver evidence of impact, with new and deep climate science insights that will far outlast its duration. It will support decisions for climate-resilient infrastructure and livelihoods through application of new understanding in its pilots, with common methodological and infrastructure lessons to promote policy and enable transformational change for impact-at-scale. Using a combination of user-led and science-based management tools, HyCRISTAL will ensure the latest physical science, engineering and social-science yield maximum impacts. HyCRISTAL will deliver outstanding outputs across FCFA’s aims; synergies with LVB-HyNEWS will add to these and ensure longevity beyond HyCRISTAL.







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