Seasonal Prediction of Hydro-Climatic Extremes in the Greater Horn of Africa Under Evolving Climate Conditions to Support Adaptation Strategies

Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:35 AM
Tsegaye Tadesse1, Benjamin F Zaitchik2, Shahid Habib3, Chris C Funk4, Gabriel B Senay5, Tufa Dinku6, Frederick S Policelli3, Paul Block7, Guillermo A Baigorria8, Shimelis Beyene8, Brian Wardlow8 and Michael J Hayes9, (1)University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, (2)Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States, (3)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (4)University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, United States, (5)USGS EROS, Sioux Falls, SD, United States, (6)Columbia University, Palisades, NY, United States, (7)University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, United States, (8)University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States, (9)Self Employed, Washington, DC, United States
The development of effective strategies to adapt to changes in the character of droughts and floods in Africa will rely on improved seasonal prediction systems that are robust to an evolving climate baseline and can be integrated into disaster preparedness and response. Many efforts have been made to build models to improve seasonal forecasts in the Greater Horn of Africa region (GHA) using satellite and climate data, but these efforts and models must be improved and translated into future conditions under evolving climate conditions. This has considerable social significance, but is challenged by the nature of climate predictability and the adaptability of coupled natural and human systems facing exposure to climate extremes. To address these issues, work is in progress under a project funded by NASA. The objectives of the project include:

1) Characterize and explain large-scale drivers in the ocean-atmosphere-land system associated with years of extreme flood or drought in the GHA.

2) Evaluate the performance of state-of-the-art seasonal forecast methods for prediction of decision-relevant metrics of hydrologic extremes.

3) Apply seasonal forecast systems to prediction of socially relevant impacts on crops, flood risk, and economic outcomes, and assess the value of these predictions to decision makers.

4) Evaluate the robustness of seasonal prediction systems to evolving climate conditions.

The National Drought Mitigation Center (University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA) is leading this project in collaboration with the USGS, Johns Hopkins University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, NASA, and GHA local experts. The project is also designed to have active engagement of end users in various sectors, university researchers, and extension agents in GHA through workshops and/or webinars. This project is expected improve and implement new and existing climate- and remote sensing-based agricultural, meteorological, and hydrologic drought and flood monitoring products (or indicators) that can enhance the preparedness for extreme climate events and climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in the GHA. Even though this project is in its first year, the preliminary results and future plans to carry out the objectives will be presented.