Linking the SASSCAL WeatherNet and data management/rescue activities to provide consistent information for climate change assessments in Southern Africa
Abstract:Many countries of Southern Africa face inadequate weather monitoring networks to provide reliable and consistent information for the development of efficient management strategies for sustainable water and land resources management, drought and flood risk analysis and forecasts as well as climate change impacts assessments. In addition, some existing networks are characterized by station data showing notable gaps in long-term observations. On the other hand, useful climate information is saved in historical documents and archives, but only barely explored up to now. Such documents are also available in archives of European meteorological services, partly also not yet in digital format. A main aim of the SASSCAL Initiative (Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management; www.sasscal.org) is to improve the availability of reliable meteorological baseline data along with a set of analytical methods to strengthen the research capacities in the SASSCAL region including Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, and therewith to support and integrate information of existing national monitoring networks of the Southern African region. In close cooperation with the national weather authorities and various research institutions of the SASSCAL region, the above mentioned deficits are specifically addressed by
i) extending the existing national monitoring networks through additional automatic weather stations and their integration in the SASSCAL WeatherNet which in near future hosts about 130 stations,
ii) contributing to the development of Climate Data Management Systems (CDMS) at the national weather authorities in Angola, Botswana and Zambia and
iii) the provision of additional time series of climate data based on the historic documents from various archives in all countries.
The paper presents first results and shows how these efforts are linked to provide consistent climate information for Southern Africa in order to support research and decision-making activities conducted in SASSCAL and beyond.