Climate Change (114)

 

Collaboration among key stakeholders in the Climate Information Services (CIS) value chain is crucial for Africa to achieve its development agenda, experts have observed.

Participants in the workshop in Entebbe Uganda on13 Feb, 2019 to validate mapping of projects along the CIS value chain unanimously called for full involvement of governments, donors, researchers, private sector, media and communities to address climate challenges.

Dr James Murombedzi, Chief, African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) said Africa needs evidence-based research to inform its budgeting and development programmes.

“Accurate climate information and CIS will make Africa resilient to climate change by ensuring that decision makers and planners in agriculture, water, energy, infrastructure, and health are well informed and make decisions that yield benefits for our people,” Murombedzi said.

Despite CISbeing very important to many countries, Murombedzi decried the insufficient systematic processes in Africa used for packaging, translating and disseminating information that is responsive to the needs of stakeholders.

Prof Joseph Mukabana of World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) called for impact based forecasts that are area and consumer specific so that majority of the users are reached.

“For example, farmers want to know the onset of rains, its intensity and when it will stop. They want to know the seeds they will use and they want to receive the information in a simple language style they understand, not the scientific jargon,”Mukabana said.

He called for concerted efforts to target governments and donors because they are key in implementing policies.

“Let us plan to reach government officials through such bodies like African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) and Development Partners Roundtable,” Mukabana said.

Dr Frank Rutabingwa, Coordinator of Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER)at  the Africa Climate and Policy Centre (ACPC) called for proper coordination to avoid duplication of projects.

“We will strive to identify projects across the continent so that we are able to advise donors and governments on how they can be implemented, where, and at what cost,” Rutabingwa said.

John Mungai, the WISER East Africa Coordinator noted that co-production has been successful in the Wiser projects in the region and the lessons should be used to replicate existing projects across Africa.

MithikaMwenda, secretary general of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) called for user-targeted messages to reach the masses.

“CIS is crucial for a low carbon climate resilient blue economy for Africa. But we need it packaged in a way that reaches the youth, women and other marginalized population,” Mithika said.

Prof Laban Ogallo of the University of Nairobiinsisted the vital role of national and regional climate centres in the implementation of CIS.

Teddy Tindamanyire, director of Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) noted the important role of media in disseminating CIS information.
“In Uganda, we are now able to transmit CIS information in 20 local languages because it is only through getting information to the users so that they use it to improve their livelihoods,” Tindamanyire said.

Jennifer Mohamed Katerere of Rights Resilience said more focus should be on the marginalized and indigenous communities and human rights.

The participants spoke during a meeting at Imperial Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda this week recognized the urgent need for facilitating the uptake of CIS through enhanced coordination of multiple actors implementing, funding and promoting climate services.

Consequently, Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) and the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) as partners are supporting the launch of a regional knowledge platform with content that is demanddriven, accessible and user-friendly.

To contribute to the CIS knowledge platform, an inventory of climate information services activities such as initiatives, programmes and projects was conceived by ACPC.

The mapping thus contributes to the implementation of one of the outcomes of the 2017 Saly, Senegal CIS coordination workshop. A Google interactive map hosted on the UNECA website has been created to provide a graphical resource for stakeholders to use.

 

NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - Climate change is causing significant changes to phytoplankton in the world's oceans, and a new study Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finds that over the coming decades these changes will affect the ocean's color, intensifying its blue regions and its green ones. Satellites should detect these changes in hue, providing early warning of wide-scale changes to marine ecosystems.

Writing in Nature Communications, researchers report that they have developed a global model that simulates the growth and interaction of different species of phytoplankton, or algae, and how the mix of species in various locations will change as temperatures rise around the world. The researchers also simulated the way phytoplankton absorb and reflect light, and how the ocean's color changes as global warming affects the makeup of phytoplankton communities.

The researchers ran the model through the end of the 21st century and found that, by the year 2100, more than 50 percent of the world's oceans will shift in color, due to climate change.

The study suggests that blue regions, such as the subtropics, will become even more blue, reflecting even less phytoplankton -- and life in general -- in those waters, compared with today. Some regions that are greener today, such as near the poles, may turn even deeper green, as warmer temperatures brew up larger blooms of more diverse phytoplankton.

"The model suggests the changes won't appear huge to the naked eye, and the ocean will still look like it has blue regions in the subtropics and greener regions near the equator and poles," says lead author Stephanie Dutkiewicz, a principal research scientist at MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. "That basic pattern will still be there. But it'll be enough different that it will affect the rest of the food web that phytoplankton supports."

Dutkiewicz's co-authors include Oliver Jahn of MIT, Anna Hickman of the University of Southhampton, Stephanie Henson of the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, Claudie Beaulieu of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Erwan Monier of the University of California at Davis.

Chlorophyll count

The ocean's color depends on how sunlight interacts with whatever is in the water. Water molecules alone absorb almost all sunlight except for the blue part of the spectrum, which is reflected back out. Hence, relatively barren open-ocean regions appear as deep blue from space. If there are any organisms in the ocean, they can absorb and reflect different wavelengths of light, depending on their individual properties.

Phytoplankton, for instance, contain chlorophyll, a pigment which absorbs mostly in the blue portions of sunlight to produce carbon for photosynthesis, and less in the green portions. As a result, more green light is reflected back out of the ocean, giving algae-rich regions a greenish hue.

Since the late 1990s, satellites have taken continuous measurements of the ocean's color. Scientists have used these measurements to derive the amount of chlorophyll, and by extension, phytoplankton, in a given ocean region. But Dutkiewicz says chlorophyll doesn't necessarily have reflect the sensitive signal of climate change. Any significant swings in chlorophyll could very well be due to global warming, but they could also be due to "natural variability" -- normal, periodic upticks in chlorophyll due to natural, weather-related phenomena.

"An El Niño or La Niña event will throw up a very large change in chlorophyll because it's changing the amount of nutrients that are coming into the system," Dutkiewicz says. "Because of these big, natural changes that happen every few years, it's hard to see if things are changing due to climate change, if you're just looking at chlorophyll."

Modeling ocean light

Instead of looking to derived estimates of chlorophyll, the team wondered whether they could see a clear signal of climate change's effect on phytoplankton by looking at satellite measurements of reflected light alone.

The group tweaked a computer model that it has used in the past to predict phytoplankton changes with rising temperatures and ocean acidification. This model takes information about phytoplankton, such as what they consume and how they grow, and incorporates this information into a physical model that simulates the ocean's currents and mixing.

This time around, the researchers added a new element to the model, that has not been included in other ocean modeling techniques: the ability to estimate the specific wavelengths of light that are absorbed and reflected by the ocean, depending on the amount and type of organisms in a given region.

"Sunlight will come into the ocean, and anything that's in the ocean will absorb it, like chlorophyll," Dutkiewicz says. "Other things will absorb or scatter it, like something with a hard shell. So it's a complicated process, how light is reflected back out of the ocean to give it its color."

When the group compared results of their model to actual measurements of reflected light that satellites had taken in the past, they found the two agreed well enough that the model could be used to predict the ocean's color as environmental conditions change in the future.

"The nice thing about this model is, we can use it as a laboratory, a place where we can experiment, to see how our planet is going to change," Dutkiewicz says.

A signal in blues and greens

As the researchers cranked up global temperatures in the model, by up to 3 degrees Celsius by 2100 -- what most scientists predict will occur under a business-as-usual scenario of relatively no action to reduce greenhouse gases -- they found that wavelengths of light in the blue/green waveband responded the fastest.

What's more, Dutkiewicz observed that this blue/green waveband showed a very clear signal, or shift, due specifically to climate change, taking place much earlier than what scientists have previously found when they looked to chlorophyll, which they projected would exhibit a climate-driven change by 2055.

"Chlorophyll is changing, but you can't really see it because of its incredible natural variability," Dutkiewicz says. "But you can see a significant, climate-related shift in some of these wavebands, in the signal being sent out to the satellites. So that's where we should be looking in satellite measurements, for a real signal of change."

According to their model, climate change is already changing the makeup of phytoplankton, and by extension, the color of the oceans. By the end of the century, our blue planet may look visibly altered.

"There will be a noticeable difference in the color of 50 percent of the ocean by the end of the 21st century," Dutkiewicz says. "It could be potentially quite serious. Different types of phytoplankton absorb light differently, and if climate change shifts one community of phytoplankton to another, that will also change the types of food webs they can support. "

This research was supported, in part, by NASA and the Department of Energy.

 

Reporting Fellowships

The Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) has partnered with SouthSouthNorth Projects Africa (SSNA) which is acting on behalf of Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) to have its member journalists report deeply on the social and political implications of delivering weather and climate services in East Africa.

We are particularly interested in journalists who are looking to expand their knowledge of weather and climate services reporting. We encourage staff writers for East African publications to apply.

Stories should broadly focus on the topic of delivering weather and climate services in East Africa, fulfilling one of the following topics:

  1. A weather or climate service which has contributed positively to lives and livelihoods by helping communities or decision makers deal with extreme weather events (such as storms, flood and droughts).
  2. A national meteorological agency (potentially in partnership with civil society or the private sector) is delivering a new or novel weather or climate service that is improving (or may improve) the lives of recipients.
  3. Better information on climate change that can support better policy or planning decisions or poverty alleviation efforts.
  4. A new technology that has been tested or commercialised to provide a weather or climate service.
  5. There is a strong preference for deep reporting on WISER projects, but it is expected that journalists use their discretion in deciding what the most important weather and climate service-related stories in their country (or region) that fit the above briefs.

Based on the above information, PAMACC is running a closed competition for its active members to produce six major stories across at least three countries in East Africa. The stories will be produced between January and November 2019.

Timelines

This call runs from today (February 4, 2019) to March 8, 2019.

Review and shortlisting will be done from March 11, 2019 to March 17, 2019.

Production of the first three stories is expected to begin on March 18, 2019 to June 30, 2019. Production of the last three stories runs from July 1, 2019 to November 15, 2019.

Winning journalists will be paid fees for covering the stories, travel and production expenses. We encourage coverage across different media, including print, radio, television and online publications.

 

Journalists should only be paid once stories are published.

  • Eligible candidates will be based in, and hold passports for, one of the following countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Somalia Tanzania and Uganda.
  • Successful candidates will have at least five years reporting experience. A background in climate change reporting is not a prerequisite; we encourage journalist with a background in environmental, political, business, or science and technology reporting to apply. A strong track record in original coverage of development stories in East Africa will be seen as a positive.
  • Strong spoken and written English is necessary.
  • In your applications, kindly include the following:
    • A covering letter describing the applicant’s work history - 300 word maximum
    • Four published stories
    • A pitch for a story that fulfils the given criteria.
    • The stories will first be published on the PAMACC website. We are also at liberty to share the stories with our partners on this project.

Note: Applications should be send to Protus Onyango via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mr Onyango is the PAMACC East Africa Coordinator.

 

Background and rationale

Sub-Saharan Africa is developing rapidly. The region’s population is expected to almost double by 2050 and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could increase more than ten-fold. Governments and businesses are investing around USD 70 billion a year in infrastructure alone across Africa.

At the same time, it is the only region where vulnerability to weather extremes is rising. Since 1980, more than 420,000 people have died from climate-related events and economic damages have totalled at least US 9 billion. Future climate change is expected to create an even more challenging environment for development in the region.

According to the Global Framework on Climate Services, Climate services provide climate information to help individuals and organizations make climate smart decisions. National and international databases provide high quality data on temperature, rainfall, wind, soil moisture and ocean conditions, as well as maps, risk and vulnerability analyses, assessments, and long-term projections and scenarios. Socio-economic variables and non-meteorological data such as agricultural production, health trends, human settlement in high-risk areas, road and infrastructure maps for the delivery of goods, may be combined, depending on user needs. The data and information collected is transformed into customized products such as projections, trends, economic analysis and services for different user communities. Climate services equip decision makers in climate-sensitive sectors with better information to help society adapt to climate variability and change.

 

The reporting fellowships will be supported by the following programmes:

  • Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (WISER) is a project funded by the UK Department for International Development and led by the UK Met Office. Its mission is to deliver transformational change in the quality, accessibility and use of weather and climate information services at all levels of decision making for sustainable development in Africa.
  • Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) is a research programme funded by the UK Department for International Development. It’s mission is to reduce the impacts of climate change in Africa by significantly improving the scientific understanding of climate variability and change across Africa and improving the use of climate information in planning and policy decisions.
  • BBC Media Action is the BBC's international development charity, funded independently by external grants and voluntary contributions. The purpose of the organisation is to use media and communication to reduce poverty, improve health and support people in understanding their rights.

 

Knowledge exchange and learning

As part of the WISER-PAMACC fellowships, WISER in partnership with the Future Climate for Africa Programme and BBC Media Action, will host knowledge exchange events between journalists, meteorologists and climate change experts.

These are open to all PAMACC members to participate in as far as possible. These events will give an opportunity for African meteorologists and climate change experts to share the latest advances in the field, key messages from the latest weather and climate science, and good practice recommendations for communicating climate science.

The events will also give journalists an opportunity to inform meteorologists and climate scientists on issues driving local, national and regional news coverage and how meteorologists and scientists may improve their own skills for engaging with journalists and news media and the relevance of their work to news media. Lastly the knowledge exchange events will serve as a marketplace where journalists and experts can network and build relationships.

About PAMACC: The Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC) is an association of African Journalists who report on climate change, environment, sustainable development and related subjects.

The network was formed on the 5th of June 2013 in Nairobi, Kenya by environmental journalists, who were then finalists of the first African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) Awards. The award was an initiative of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) in collaboration with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Alliance has 120 members, located in different parts of the continent. PAMACC has coordination offices in four regions, namely the East African Region, The Central African Region, The West African Region and The Southern African Region.

The Network has since been registered in Kenya as a Media Trust.

OPINION


For the past 24 global leaders have met to discuss climate change only to come up with policies and resolutions with different acronyms. Right now, the excitement is about the Paris Rule book, which we hope will be a guideline for Paris Agreement implementation. But should we as young people have the same kind of excitement?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 1.5 special report warns that we have only 12 years before we het to a point of climatic changes that will be irreversible, meaning they become permanent. As a young person in my 20s I would be worried because the number 12 is very key for out livelihood.

12 years from now if you are in your 20s you will be around 30 to mean some will have started families or probably settled down in jobs in various sectors like the government, the private sectors and the CSO sectors. But I cannot help to wonder how "Climate Resilient" our young people are. Do they know that the fact that the world has admitted that it may not meet the 100 billion dollar target will affect them far much beyond than they can imagine.  

The confession by the Standing committee on finance to only meet the 60% of the funds translated that there will be more hardships for your people up ahead. It is evident that the climatic conditions will get worse but it is also evident that the kind of decisions the young people will have to make as the next decision makers in the next 12 years will be even harder.

Mr. Antonio Guterres the Secretary General to the UNFCCC said as I quote, "The older generation are behaving badly" while this should not deter the efforts being made but it is clear that the pattern we have been using over the past 24 years are clearly not working. As a young person I fell it is time for not just action but double climate actions.

The older generation has had the luxury of banking on the principle of "Common but differentiated Responsibilities" where our developing world claims not to be at par with the developed world thus more responsibility falls on the developed world. I feel we need to look at this principle from a youth perspective where the older generation irregardless of whether or not are developed or not need to own up to the fact that they have more responsibility to sefaguard a future for we the younger generation. More responsibility because they have longer experience and they were present when things were abit better therefore they ought to have safeguarded the environment. As a young people "Double Climate Action" need to not only protect the environment but buffer us from the foreseen tough decisions that wait us ahead.

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