The RCMRD through the SERVIR-ESA project organized a four day workshop on Applied Hydro-Climate Services in Lusaka Zambia. The workshop held in collaboration with the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) aimed at building and sustaining the capacity of technical experts and decision makers in the application of hydrological and climate data, information and web services to solve development problems in the Eastern Africa region.
Facilitators and Participants:
Participants were drawn from Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and United States of America. The facilitators included Greg Husak Associate Researcher, Climate Hazards Group at UCSB and Shraddhanand Shukla, Associate Researcher at UCSB and Denis Macharia the Weather and Climate Lead at RCMRD/SERVIR-ESA in Nairobi, Kenya and Tamuka Magadzire a FEWSNET Regional Scientist.
Objectives of the Training:
Over the last two (2) years, UCSB has been working with RCMRD to enhance access to remote sensing datasets, models and tools that can improve regional hydro climate applications/analyses and ultimately, aiding decision making. The main objective of the training was to provide hands-on training using case studies from the region on access to hydrological and climate based satellite earth observation and model data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and regional agencies, water availability monitoring and modeling, climate scenario modeling, and crop weather index insurance analysis.
The training started with an overview of the workshop, participant’s presentations and follow up discussions. There was also an introduction to CHIRTS as well as an introduction of EWX and its features. The Honorable Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mr. Trevor Kaunda officially kicked off the training.
Trainees also focused on Exploring EWX features and ag. drought monitoring using EWX, Accessing and analyzing weather forecasts, Generating monthly climate scenarios using weather forecasts and Analyzing influence of ENSO on the climate. They also generated seasonal climate scenarios using ENSO conditions, Hydrologic modeling, FLDAS and accessing hydrologic simulations and hydrologic simulations and using them for drought and flood monitoring. Hydrologic forecasting and understanding the sources of skills in hydrologic forecasting was also included.
On day 2 they started with a presentation and exercise demonstrating how to access and apply CHIRPS compatible weather forecasts distributed by SERVIR's ClimateSERV. Tamuka from FEWSNET led a session on ENSO based seasonal climate scenarios; there was also a session on access and usage of weather forecasts and seasonal climate scenarios handled by Husak and Shukla.
On day 3 they used FLDAS outputs and GIOVANNI and the participants were able to quickly visualize the severity of meteorological drought (rainfall anomaly) and agricultural drought (SM percentile) in Southern Africa during December January and February of past El Niño years. Participants learnt to access NASA and FEWSNET's Land Data Assimilation System (FLDAS) simulations' spatial and time series maps, and data through NASA'S GIOVANNI. Several of the participants explored ClimateSERV to access CHIRPS-GEFS (weather forecast) and compared it with CHIRPS (observation).
On day 4 the participants designed and presented on their projects (case studies) utilizing EWX, CHIPRS-GEFS, ClimateSERV, FLDAS and GIOVANNI. They presented their projects or case studies on utilizing EWX, CHIPRS-GEFS, ClimateSERV, FLDAS and GIOVANNSERVIR in the Hydroclimate training.
Address by Chief Guest
Zambia's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mr. Trevor Kaunda opened the workshop. He noted, "As you are aware, the Eastern and Southern Africa region is facing numerous challenges in achieving sustainable development. Apart from the increasing human population, increasing demand for ecosystem services is constraining our water resources and with the added challenge brought about by negative climate change impacts, these challenges will only increase in the coming future."
He added that the challenges made it a mandatory undertaking for governments in the region to commit to build and enhance the resilience of their people and the environment to the negative impacts while also making firm commitments to mitigate possible future or projected impacts. “We cannot achieve these goals without investments in skills, technology and data. This fact makes this workshop a very important input to the environmental management and climate change adaptation initiatives in the region."
Kaunda lauded the initiatives of using earth observation for sustainable development, "improvements have come from sustained capacity building of national and regional hydro-meteorological agencies through partnerships." He said, "For instance, we have seen great improvements of weather forecasts in the region through the Climate Outlook Forums organized for Southern Africa region through the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) and in Eastern Africa region through the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF)."