11.05 - 14.05.2010
Ghent, Belgium
Contact person:
Mohammed Umer
Report - PAGES: 
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It is known that in developing countries such as Africa vulnerability to climate change, mainly through impacts on precipitation and through changes in the frequency and magnitudes of climate extremes, is apparent. This vulnerability is linked to widespread poverty, mismanagement of natural resources, conflicts and dependence on rain-fed agriculture.

Assessments of climate variability in Africa are difficult due: 1) in the near term, to the sparse spatial coverage and sometimes questionable reliability of available instrumental records and 2) over the last two millennia as a result of the prevalence of semi- to hyperarid environments in the extra-equatorial regions. These dry climates have generally precluded the long-term persistence of lakes and wetlands, which in temperate and tropical regions typically preserve long records of environmental change. The result is a regional dataset characterised by spatially disjunct, temporally discontinuous records, often with unreliable chronological control and ambiguous palaeoenvironmental significance. Considering this, and the potential impacts of future climate change, it is deemed necessary and timely to: 1) conduct an audit of existing palaeoenvironmental archives, compile and evaluate the significance of published material 2) collate these data to construct a pan-African synthesis of climate change spanning the last 2 kyr, and 3) use this synthesis to identify key areas for future work, including new archives that can provide reliable palaeoenvironmental information at annual to multi-decadal time scales. This will provide a basis for direct comparisons with general circulation model simulations (GCMs), and for assessing the range of natural climate variability within which humans and ecosystems have been operating effectively, and the extent to which climates may exceed this envelope under potential future scenarios.

Objectives - Conduct an audit of existing palaeoenvironmental records, and create a pan-African synthesis of environmental change spanning the last 2 kyr. - Identify and obtain well-dated annual to decadal records of rainfall variability within the last 2000 years that have the potential to be linked to historical accounts and observational data.

These activities will provide a unique opportunity for: 1) extending the observational record, 2) assessing GCM performance and the reliability of simulated future scenarios, and 3) combining palaeoenvironmental data and modelling techniques to explore regional climate dynamics and identify the key drivers responsible for the changes observed in the palaeoenvironmental records

This meeting is by invitation. If you would like to attend this meeting, please contact the workshop organizers .