HyCRISTAL: Integrating Hydro-Climate Science into Policy Decisions for Climate-Resilient Infrastructure and Livelihoods in East Africa

Lead Research Organisation: North Carolina State University
Department Name: Marine, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

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.

Planned Impact

HyCRISTAL will have a positive impact on 7 groups of beneficiaries through the process and research outcomes.
1) COMMUNITIES IN THE LAKE VICTORIA BASIN
Communities will have the opportunity to access, input to, and benefit via their livelihoods from the research. Development options and pathways for climate-smart fisheries/agriculture, sustainable water use, access & distribution, will enhance productive and WASH outcomes in the region with such measurable livelihood improvements as greater levels of savings or tradeable assets. At least 400 households will participate in the adaptation trials. Wider engagement will occur via community exchanges, district workshops and regional learning platforms.
2) WATER PLANNERS/MANAGERS IN GOVERNMENT & POLICY
Close links with resource planners and government policymakers (East African Community, Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Uganda National Water and Sewerage Co, Local Authorities) will facilitate the 2-way flow of information, tools & guidance needed to support livelihoods & water management. Training will be tailored to user needs and through inclusive participation, empower women & youth to co-design and better apply planning tools. These stakeholders will act as researcher-advocates and contribute to policy uptake via "fit-for-purpose" evidence of the pilot outcomes. Value-added impact of such interventions on the local economy & livelihoods will result from investments to Treasury & donors. Local/sub-national governments in the region now have devolved responsibilities for climate services and will also benefit from improved evidence of benefits.
3) INTERNATIONAL & BILATERAL DEVELOPMENT PARTNERS
These will benefit from robust quantitative & qualitative evidence to inform programmes of support to national innovation support systems (including advisory services, SME promotion, regulatory frameworks). USAID & EU, World Bank, UNEP, UNDP, WFP, WHO and others are active in this region and will be invited to participate in the high-level Learning Platforms.
4) NGOs
Close collaboration with international (Practical Action) & local NGOs (Rural Environment & Development Organisation, OSIENALA, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern & Southern Africa) will inform their livelihood and WASH programs development and provide evidence of their own interventions and modes of working with pilot communities.
5) CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS (CSOs) & MEDIA
CSOs, national/sub-national farmer/fisher & urban organizations will benefit from evidence supporting lobbying for improved water services and climate-smart fisheries/agriculture management. Some CSOs already provide innovation support services (Uganda National Farmers Federation) and will be able to use the project findings to enhance such service provision. Engagement with CSOs & the media (local FM stations) will raise awareness of the research process and outcomes (planning information & decision tools). Wider coverage of the research & analytical methods will help to showcase benefits & attract future investment, stimulating collaborations beyond HyCRISTAL
6) RESEARCH INSTITUTES & MET SERVICES
HyCRISTAL will work with weather forecasters, hydrologists, hydrogeologists & users of medium-long-range forecasts, through project partnerships. These partners benefit via access to improved climate risk information and by strengthening utility of their climate services at regional to community levels.
7) PRIVATE SECTOR
African companies (Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company) will benefit from exposure to the knowledge products helping to inform their future business plans. Communities across the region will indirectly benefit from improved innovation support policies and interventions that are evidence based and tuned to the ways in which they seek support in their innovation & livelihood decision-making resulting in increased household capacity to invest in new livelihood options as current ones become unsusustainable

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1. This work has demonstrated viability of conducting the highly computer intensive climate simulations research in East Africa which is ordinarily carried out in technologically advanced countries.
2. Policymakers should consider the potential role of urbanization as a potential source of climate change alongside with the component due to global warming.
Exploitation Route Present research is based on an advanced regional climate model for East Africa (WRF) that includes coupling of the Lake Victoria and the atmosphere above it. The lake model component is based on thermodynamic formulation which permits the energy from the Sun to penetrate the lake during the day and also exit at night. Our findings could be taken forward by upgrading the lake formulation to include the circulation of the water of the lake which could play an important role as a source of secondary lake surface temperature changes and subsequently lead to further climate response.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Construction,Energy,Environment,Transport,Other

 
Title WRF and ReGCM customized regional climate models for Urbanization 
Description The tools involves two set-ups for the WRF and ReGCM regional climate models, (i) control model simulations set up based on the default present day land surface conditions, and (ii) future 2030 projected urbanized land surface conditions over the Lake Victoria basin are prescribed. The difference gives an estimate of the effect of the projected urbanization on the regional climate. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The most outstanding result is that the impacts of urbanization on surface temperature and rainfall over the Lake Victoria basin are comparable to the projected climate change due to global warming. 
URL http://ams.confex.com/ams/96Annual/webprogram/Paper290745.html
 
Description Building capacity at the Tanzania Meteorological Agency in high-end climate modeling of the climate of Lake Victoria Basin 
Organisation Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The North Carolina State University (NCSU) HyCristal project research team in the US have been working with their colleagues at the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) to investigate the role of the rapid urbanization, in the region surrounding Lake Victoria. In this phase of the HyCristal project the contribution of NCSU was to customize and test the WRF research community climate model for the Lake Victoria basin based on short seasonal computer simulations, and then assist their colleagues at TMA to be able to reproduce the results locally in Tanzania. This assurance has confirmed that the regional climate system has been successfully ported to TMA. The next step is for TMA to build on this highly sophisticated advanced technology transfer enabled by NERC/DFID funding to carry out long decadal projections of the Lake Victoria basin regional climate and how it expected to be impacted by urbanization in the future in combination with the global warming contribution. The results will play a critical role for the countries in the region to plan and develop sound policies, underpinned by leading-edge scientific research, guarantee climate-resilient infrastructure and livelihoods in East Africa.
Collaborator Contribution As explained above, our Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) partner has successfully installed the modeling tools, with our assistance, and they have now embarked on performing long climate projections based on climate change computer simulations to investigate the role of urbanization on climate change in the coming few decades. This is particularly important because East Africa has one of the most rapid growth in urbanization which is resulting in rapid removal of natural vegetation. Removal or depletion of this vegetation could adversely impact the regional climate and it therefore needs to be considered by policymakers in their plans for adaptation to climate change.
Impact 1. This work has demonstrated that it is feasible, perhaps for the first time, to conduct the highly computer intensive climate simulations in East Africa. 2. The computer simulation work on investigating the role of urbanization on the regional climate has provided important new insight regarding the future climate for the region. More specifically, the results indicate that the role of urbanization on future climate could be comparable to that due to global warming. This has important implications for policymakers and planners in the development of mitigation planning to build resilience to climate change in next few decades.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration on urbanization modeling - WP 1.4 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 1. WRF and ReGCM modeling simulations of the impacts of urbanization on the climate over Lake Victoria Basin 2. Provided estimate of the maximum possible Urban heat Island Intensity (UHII) over East Africa, of about 4 degrees centigrade for the tropics and region of interest.
Collaborator Contribution Initiated consultations to facilitate multi decadal simulations by Tanzania Meteorology Agency.
Impact Consensus on design of multi decadal simulations to be carried out by Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration on urbanization modeling - WP 1.4 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 1. WRF and ReGCM modeling simulations of the impacts of urbanization on the climate over Lake Victoria Basin 2. Provided estimate of the maximum possible Urban heat Island Intensity (UHII) over East Africa, of about 4 degrees centigrade for the tropics and region of interest.
Collaborator Contribution Initiated consultations to facilitate multi decadal simulations by Tanzania Meteorology Agency.
Impact Consensus on design of multi decadal simulations to be carried out by Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration on urbanization modeling - WP 1.4 
Organisation Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 1. WRF and ReGCM modeling simulations of the impacts of urbanization on the climate over Lake Victoria Basin 2. Provided estimate of the maximum possible Urban heat Island Intensity (UHII) over East Africa, of about 4 degrees centigrade for the tropics and region of interest.
Collaborator Contribution Initiated consultations to facilitate multi decadal simulations by Tanzania Meteorology Agency.
Impact Consensus on design of multi decadal simulations to be carried out by Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration on urbanization modeling - WP 1.4 
Organisation University of Leeds
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution 1. WRF and ReGCM modeling simulations of the impacts of urbanization on the climate over Lake Victoria Basin 2. Provided estimate of the maximum possible Urban heat Island Intensity (UHII) over East Africa, of about 4 degrees centigrade for the tropics and region of interest.
Collaborator Contribution Initiated consultations to facilitate multi decadal simulations by Tanzania Meteorology Agency.
Impact Consensus on design of multi decadal simulations to be carried out by Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration on wind energy - WP 1.2 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution 1. Provided input to adopt (i) Wind Speed and (ii) Power Density as the the desired user metrics for wind energy 2. Proposed hydroelectric energy pilot as a gap-filling opportunity if funds become available; lake level and lake level exceedance curves were proposed as the relevant user metrics.
Collaborator Contribution Regarding 1: Agreed to adopt the Wind Speed and Power Density metricss
Impact Tabulated set of user metrics was generated
Start Year 2015
 
Description Collaboration with ICPAC in the Communication of Climate Information to the Users 
Organisation ICPAC
Country Kenya 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Development of a new initiative with ICPAC to translate climate model projections into narratives that the users community can easily understand.
Collaborator Contribution ICPAC will contribute to fund the collaboration activities. Activity-Coproduction of User-Tailored Metrics: We will identify and provide projections of user metrics based on multiple climate models. The co-production activity builds on preliminary analysis recently conducted by the FCFA DFID/NERC HyCRISTAL project, which will also participate in the proposed HyVic (downscaling/ensemble projections experts and Stakeholders), planning workshops. The geospatial user metrics projections will provide primary input for activities in regional climate projection uptake activities. In order to focus on demand and users we will adopt the Climate Risks Narratives (CRN)' approach recently developed by the FRACTAL (FCFA project), to ensure two-way dialogue between climate science providers and climate information users. The aim is to illustrate climate information, subsequent climate impacts, and societal consequences and responses in concise, accessible formats using unambiguous scientifically coherent and defensible 'stories' of future climate. The following process is involved (see example below, of summary of a preliminary narrative generated for Lake Victoria coastal region in response lake level change projections.
Impact Not yet.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Monthly conference calls on WP 2.3 & 2.4 
Organisation Kenyatta University
Country Kenya 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiences in accessing CORDEX data
Collaborator Contribution CMIP5 data processing and provision by university of Reading; Providing updates on progress in analyzing CMIP data by Makerere University, Kenyatta University and University of Reading; input from Leeds on overarching HyCristal goals; & Met Office lead in coordination of the two WPs
Impact 1. Powerpoint presentations of analyses summaries of CMIP data over East Africa 2. Capacity development for Makerere University & Kenyatta University to process and analyze CMIP data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monthly conference calls on WP 2.3 & 2.4 
Organisation Makerere University
Country Uganda 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiences in accessing CORDEX data
Collaborator Contribution CMIP5 data processing and provision by university of Reading; Providing updates on progress in analyzing CMIP data by Makerere University, Kenyatta University and University of Reading; input from Leeds on overarching HyCristal goals; & Met Office lead in coordination of the two WPs
Impact 1. Powerpoint presentations of analyses summaries of CMIP data over East Africa 2. Capacity development for Makerere University & Kenyatta University to process and analyze CMIP data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monthly conference calls on WP 2.3 & 2.4 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Experiences in accessing CORDEX data
Collaborator Contribution CMIP5 data processing and provision by university of Reading; Providing updates on progress in analyzing CMIP data by Makerere University, Kenyatta University and University of Reading; input from Leeds on overarching HyCristal goals; & Met Office lead in coordination of the two WPs
Impact 1. Powerpoint presentations of analyses summaries of CMIP data over East Africa 2. Capacity development for Makerere University & Kenyatta University to process and analyze CMIP data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monthly conference calls on WP 2.3 & 2.4 
Organisation University of Leeds
Department Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science (ICAS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiences in accessing CORDEX data
Collaborator Contribution CMIP5 data processing and provision by university of Reading; Providing updates on progress in analyzing CMIP data by Makerere University, Kenyatta University and University of Reading; input from Leeds on overarching HyCristal goals; & Met Office lead in coordination of the two WPs
Impact 1. Powerpoint presentations of analyses summaries of CMIP data over East Africa 2. Capacity development for Makerere University & Kenyatta University to process and analyze CMIP data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Monthly conference calls on WP 2.3 & 2.4 
Organisation University of Reading
Department Department of Meteorology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Experiences in accessing CORDEX data
Collaborator Contribution CMIP5 data processing and provision by university of Reading; Providing updates on progress in analyzing CMIP data by Makerere University, Kenyatta University and University of Reading; input from Leeds on overarching HyCristal goals; & Met Office lead in coordination of the two WPs
Impact 1. Powerpoint presentations of analyses summaries of CMIP data over East Africa 2. Capacity development for Makerere University & Kenyatta University to process and analyze CMIP data.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Presentation on the HyCristal project at the annual GEWEX GHP meeting. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Planning for development of the HyVic international project which inspired the HyCristal project. This presentation helped to convince GEWEX GHP which is the parent international program that HyVic is on the right track to become a full fledged RHP and hence to be come illegible for further international funding.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.gewexevents.org/2015-ghp-meeting/