Africa’s key to global climate change
G8 campaigning has raised awareness of the debt problems faced by African countries – but their inhabitants have also had to contend with severe climate change, with disastrous effects on water resources, agriculture and health. An international collaboration involving the University aims to discover what controls the volatile West African climate.
Dr Doug Parker believes that predictive global climate models will be ‘useless’ until detailed studies into the region’s tropospheric composition (the area from which all weather occurs) are conducted. “We can’t claim to be able to accurately predict global climate change if one huge area is systematically wrong,” said the earth and environment senior lecturer.
Dr Parker is leading the UK section of AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses) – over 65 international institutions – which will carry out in-depth observations of this understudied region. “It’s almost like a space mission in regard to the atmospheric composition – measurements have never been made before and we don’t know exactly what we’re going to find,” he said.
The unpredictable climate is a particular problem in the Sahel area, which suffered a major drought in the late 1970s causing large-scale famine and a major aid response. This African boundary zone between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile southerly region changes dramatically depending on the size and duration of the West African monsoon.
This has not only caused social and health problems for the people of the Sahel, but also has global consequences – for example, there is a strong correlation between rainfall in the Sahel and intense hurricane activity in the Atlantic, with 80 per cent of all hurricanes coming from Africa.
AMMA researchers will complete long-term monitoring over several seasons and intensive observations in summer 2006. Field measurements will help refine predictive models for the environment and climate of Africa, and the world.
All latest news from the category: Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.
innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.
In the quantum realm, not even time flows as you might expect
New study shows the boundary between time moving forward and backward may blur in quantum mechanics. A team of physicists at the Universities of Bristol, Vienna, the Balearic Islands and…
Hubble Spots a Swift Stellar Jet in Running Man Nebula
A jet from a newly formed star flares into the shining depths of reflection nebula NGC 1977 in this Hubble image. The jet (the orange object at the bottom center…