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

Lead Research Organisation: Stony Brook University
Department Name: Marine Sciences Research Centre

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 In order to examine the relationship between climatic indices, i.e., Multi-variate ENSO Index (MEI), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Pacific Ocean Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Indian Ocean Dipole Moment Index (DMI), Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) and satellite data of different variables over Lake Victoria (aerosols, lake surface temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, precipitation, and chlorophyll a) we used percentage bend correlation because it protects against marginal distribution outliers biasing the data.

We found statistically significant correlation between aerosol optical thickness (AOT) and MEI mostly in the western and northern parts of the lake. The correlation is negative in the east but not significant. NAO has statistically significant positive correlation with AOT the western part of the lake, except south of Sesse Islands in Ugandan waters, with a highest correlation found at lag of 8 months. Also, DMI has statistically significant positive correlation with AOT in the eastern part of the lake. The rest of the lake also generally has a positive correlation with a highest correlation found at lag of 9 months.

There is significant positive correlation between photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and MEI for most of the lake. PAR lags by 8 months. MJO has a negative significant correlation in the mid-section of the lake. The correlation is weak in the north and south. The lag of 3 moths give the maximum correlation. While DMI has statistically significant negative correlation with PAR in the southern and eastern parts of the lake. NAO has small portions in the south of the lake that have statistically significant negative correlation with PAR.

There is significant positive correlation between Chlorophyll a and MEI in the east. There are several scattered small areas of negative correlation in Ugandan waters. Chlorophyll a lags behind ENSO by 9 months. MJO has no significant correlation with Chlorophyll a, except for a small area (radius ~15 km) in the east near Musoma town in Tanzanian waters, with a lag of one month. DMI seems to have little influence on Chlorophyll a. In the west there are significant narrow areas close to shore with significant positive correlation. In the east (Speke Gulf and along Ugandan-Kenyan boarder, there are scattered area with significant negative correlation. NAO has weak but negative correlation for most of the lake. Only one small area in the northeast has a significant negative correlation, with a lag of 5 months.

Significant positive correlation exists between rainfall and MEI north of 0o 30' S line, and there is significant negative correlation in the south and off the Kagera River mouth. MJO has no significant correlation with rainfall, but it is generally positive. DMI has statistically significant positive correlation with rainfall most of the lake, except the narrow eastern corridor where correlation is weak and negative. NAO has weak but positive correlation for most of the lake. Two small portions in the west around Sesse Islands in Uganda and an area off the Bukoba town in Tanzania have significant positive correlation.

There is a significant positive correlation between Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) and MEI for most of the lake. PAR lags ENSO by 8 months. MJO has a negative significant correlation in the mid-section of the lake. The correlation is weak in the north and south. DMI has statistically significant negative correlation with PAR in the southern and eastern parts of the lake. PAR has small portions in the south of the lake that have statistically significant negative correlation with NAO. Maximum correlation is found when NAO is lagged by 4 months.

Least Absolute Shrinkage Selector Operator (LASSO) regression, a method good at reducing confounding factors, indicates that PDO and DMI are the major predictors of the surface temperature of Lake Victoria.
Exploitation Route They can be used to verify results of high resolution regional general climate models for the Lake Victoria basin. We compared observations with CMIP5 model historical output for rain and surface temperature and the results did not agree, probably because the CMIP5 model resolution is too coarse and does not resolve Lake Victoria. We just started examining CP4A and R25A output, which look promising. Once we establish that they are capable of producing accurate results for the historical data, we will use their predictions for future scenarios to drive the lake hydrodynamical model which will feed the ECOPATH model.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

 
Description Present water level fluctuations and surface temperature in Lake Victoria and their projected changes are being incorporated in the plans of the Vine Trust medical boat operations. The boat provides service to the southwest qudrant of the lake.
First Year Of Impact 2019
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Advising the prime minister of Uganda about the El Niño of 2015
Geographic Reach Africa 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact At the meeting the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Rutahakana Rugunda was cautioned about the impending impacts of El Niño. The office of the Prime Minister took the advice to heart by directing cleaning up of the gutter Kampala city to avert flooding. The Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management is coordinating the raising of the level of preparedness and response of Government Institutions. The Disaster Department working with UPDF leadership, trained and equippied Ugandan soldiers on how to help people when the El Niño rains get destructive in the districts at high risk and Kampala City. A National Multi-Sectoral El Niño taskforce has been established.
 
Title Installation of a satellite modem for telemetering meteorological and water temperature on a medical boat (Jubilee Hope) on Lake Victoria 
Description In July 2018 installed a satellite modem on the M/V Jubile the boat. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Not yet. 
 
Title Installation of lake observation sensors the floating hospital ship Jubilee Hope 
Description I installed sensors for wind, barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, short wave solar radiation, precipitation and lake surface water temperature on a hospital boat (Jubilee Hope - owned by) operating on Lake Victoria. I will maintain the data pre-processing and its distribution to all partners (except Vine Trust Organisation which is an international development charity). I will also conduct regular maintenance every six months. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The sensors were installed in December 2016 and teh ship did not start sailing until February 7, 2017. The data has started coming in but not consistenly because of communication problems. These will be their first continuous monitoring data in lake Victoria. 
 
Title Installation of meteorological and water temperature monitoring equipment on a passenger boat between Mwanza and Bukoba on Lake Victoria 
Description The government-owned passenger ferry, MV Serengeti, on which I installed the meteorological monitoring equipment in January of 2016, was removed from service after six months due to technical problems. In August 2017 I installed another set sensors for wind, barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, short wave solar radiation, precipitation and lake surface water temperature on a privately owned boat (MV Blue Bird - owned by Earthwise) operating on Lake Victoria. The boat started operating between Mwanza and Bukoba in January 2018. Data pre-processing and its distribution to all partners will be conducted by the PI. We will also conduct regular maintenance every six months. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This is the second boat (not counting MV Serengeti which is not back in service yet) to have this kind of equipment. It has an advantage over the Hospital boat because the data collection is more regular, and the boat takes only four hours to cross the lake. Data will be used to improve the regional models that are being developed in HyCRISTAL project. The data will be used to verify present day output products of CP4A and R25A regional models. It will also provide groundtruth data for the Satellite observations. 
 
Title Installation of meteorological sensors and water quality sensors on Bukoba-Mwanza Ferry 
Description The Co-I and a technician traveled to Mwanza in Tanzania between 13 and 26 January 2016. The aim was to install meteorological sensors (Airmar to measure true and relative wind speed and direction, GPS Position, pitch and roll, barometric pressure, air temperature, and wind chill temperature), rain sensor, sensor for photosynthetically active radiometer; water temperature sensor, chlorophyll and phycocyanin sensors, and a nitrate sensor on a passenger ferry that travels between Mwanza and Bukoba town in the southwestern area of Lake Victoria. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact It has just started and the data will be shared by all the groups. This is the first of its kind on Lake Victoria which will help establish continuous monitoring of weather data. The data will be used to improve the regional models that are being developed in HyCRISTAL project. Before the installation satellite data were the only means of getting continuous physical data (e.g., water temperature, chlorophyll) apart from intermittent research survey data conducted by fisheries research institutes of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Now we have some groundtruth to calibrate satellite data with. 
 
Title Boat observations from Lake Victoria 
Description The database includes semi-monthly data from transects across the southwestern quadrant of Lake Victoria. The data contain wind vector observations, air temperature, relative humidity, rain, solar radiation, and water temperature recorded at 6-min ineterval. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This is the first time meteorological data and lake surface water temperature are being monitored on regularly on Lake Victoria. Researchers will have data over the lake which is very hard to come by. They will allow calibration and verification of satellite observations. The data will also help in model verification. 
 
Description Fisheries and health work we are doing on Lake Victoria 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I made the lake level, lake surface temperature, precipitation, and wind data available to the writing of the proposal. I am not a formal investigator. I am just a collaborator.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Andrew Brierley wrote the proposal on using fish as a biocontrol on schistosomiasis in Lake Victoria funded via GCRF for 2.5 years.
Impact Workshop on biocontrol of schistosomiasis in Lake Victoria held in St. Andrews on April 9, 2017.
Start Year 2019
 
Description LAKE VICTORIA FOOD, ENERGY AND WATER SYSTEMS (LakeVIEW) -balancing the food production and energy demands of a growing population with preservation of water resources, under climate change, 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Biology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the lead scientist on this proposal to the US National Science Foundation.
Collaborator Contribution Prof. Andrew Brierley's contribution is the acoustic measurements of fish in Lake Victoria to examine the biomass of commercially important species.
Impact No output yet because the proposal is still pending.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Stony Brook University and UK Met Office Lake Victoria observation partnership 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I installed sensors for wind, barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, short wave solar radiation, precipitation and lake surface water temperature on a hospital boat (Jubilee Hope - owned by) operating on Lake Victoria. I will maintain the data pre-processing and its distribution to all partners (except Vine Trust Organisation which is an international development charity). I will also conduct regular maintenance every six months.
Collaborator Contribution UK met Office provided the funding for the purchase of the equipment and will continue to pay for the communications charges for telemetry. Vine Trust provided their hospital boat for free. The boat visits several remote Islands in Lake Victoria for about 4 day/island every month.
Impact The lake observations data continuously is being collected. We are still trying to sort out communications problems. Once sorted teh data will be published on UK Met website.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Stony Brook University and UK Met Office Lake Victoria observation partnership 
Organisation Tanzania Meteorology Agency
Country Tanzania, United Republic of 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution I installed sensors for wind, barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, short wave solar radiation, precipitation and lake surface water temperature on a hospital boat (Jubilee Hope - owned by) operating on Lake Victoria. I will maintain the data pre-processing and its distribution to all partners (except Vine Trust Organisation which is an international development charity). I will also conduct regular maintenance every six months.
Collaborator Contribution UK met Office provided the funding for the purchase of the equipment and will continue to pay for the communications charges for telemetry. Vine Trust provided their hospital boat for free. The boat visits several remote Islands in Lake Victoria for about 4 day/island every month.
Impact The lake observations data continuously is being collected. We are still trying to sort out communications problems. Once sorted teh data will be published on UK Met website.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Stony Brook University and UK Met Office Lake Victoria observation partnership 
Organisation Vine Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I installed sensors for wind, barometric pressure, air temperature, relative humidity, short wave solar radiation, precipitation and lake surface water temperature on a hospital boat (Jubilee Hope - owned by) operating on Lake Victoria. I will maintain the data pre-processing and its distribution to all partners (except Vine Trust Organisation which is an international development charity). I will also conduct regular maintenance every six months.
Collaborator Contribution UK met Office provided the funding for the purchase of the equipment and will continue to pay for the communications charges for telemetry. Vine Trust provided their hospital boat for free. The boat visits several remote Islands in Lake Victoria for about 4 day/island every month.
Impact The lake observations data continuously is being collected. We are still trying to sort out communications problems. Once sorted teh data will be published on UK Met website.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Annual general meeting at Kampala September 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact About 60 people attended the conference. The discussion topics showed that the partner members in the study were willing to apply the
research to benefit the East African people in the Lake Victoria Basin. It was agreed that agreed that maintaining communication among project groups and beyond the project will facilitate success.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://futureclimateafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/HYCRISTAL-Workshop-report_summary.pdf
 
Description Implications of discrepancies of climate models to the dynamics of Lake Victoria 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was the annual general meeting held in Kampala in April 2018. The goals were to review where were at and strategize how to complete the project, report to decision makers and stakeholders (represented by NGOs) the preliminary results and seek their input.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Implications of water level changes of Lake Victoria 
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 The workshop brought together experts on biocontrol of schistosomiasis from around the world. The goal was to examine various ways that have been used previously and which are currently used in other parts of the world to determine which one would fit Lake Victoria best.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Meeting with Regional Commissionerof Mwanza Region in Tanzania 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact When we started inquiring about installing the observation equipment on the private and government owned ships in Mwanza, some owners were worried not knowing if we had the permission and the blessing of the regional government. Therefore, the goal was to make the Mwanza Region leadership aware of the HyCRISTAL project, its objectives and how it will help in improving the accuracy of climate prediction in the region. We also wanted to convince them about the need to install sensors on several different ships operating on Lake Victoria in order to verify and calibrate the models.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016