Efforts to Unravel the Cause of Shrinkage of Lake Chad: Development of Hydrologic Real-time Observatory Network in the Lake Chad Basin
Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Lake Chad, the fourth largest lake in Africa, is well known as a shrinking lake due to adverse impact of climate change and increased population during drought periods in the 1980s and 1990s. While the shrinkage of the Lake has been studied broadly using remote sensing data, the main cause of shrinkage is still uncertain due to limited availability of ground-truth data. Lack of infrastructure, insecure site conditions, vandalism, and limited site accessibility make it difficult to establish a real-time monitoring network in many parts of Africa including the Lake Chad Basin. For a better understanding of how the Lake responds to the change of weather patterns and other hydrologic processes such as runoff, groundwater flow, and evapotranspiration, a real-time monitoring network is essential in the region. In early 2015, a team from NASA, the Lake Chad Basin Commission, and the University of Missouri – Kansas City set up a hydrologic real-time observatory network in the Chari-Logone catchment, the main feeder of water to the Lake, to monitor meteorological conditions, soil moisture, and groundwater. The TAHMO (Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory) weather stations were adopted to monitor rainfall, relative humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, and temperature. The present study shows preliminary analysis of the correlations between meteorological and hydrological parameters from real-time monitoring data in the Chari-Logone catchment. We also discuss the importance of partnership with local government and community involvement for data collection and share for sustainable hydrological research in the Lake Chad Basin.