2.6 The NCAR Colloquium on African Weather and Climate: Fulfilling Peter Lamb's Mission

Wednesday, 13 January 2016: 5:15 PM
Room 343 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Arlene Laing, Science Education and Research, Boulder, CO; and K. H. Cook
Manuscript (8.2 MB)

“African Weather and Climate: Unique Challenges and Application of New Knowledge,” was the topic that brought together 23 graduate students and 26 instructors for 2011 NCAR Integrated Studies Program (ISP) summer colloquium. A first of its kind gathering, the colloquium grew out of discussions among US-based colleagues, including Peter Lamb, at the 3rd International Conference of the African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA). Our goal was to enhance interactions among students and to attract more graduate students and postdocs to research problems related to African weather and climate. Therefore a proposal was made to the ISP, whose mission was well suited to address the land-atmosphere-ocean interactions and societal impacts that are unique to Africa.

The colloquium focused on (i) synthesizing knowledge of African weather and climate, and (ii) applying modern tools (remote sensing, numerical simulation and prediction, statistical data analysis, and visualization) to understand variability on synoptic, sub-seasonal, interannual, and climate timescales, making and interpreting their prediction, and optimizing their societal benefit in Africa. In the panel discussion on lessons learned for successful collaboration in Africa, Pete cited the importance of encouraging independence, forging personal relationships, and helping Africans to help themselves. He reminded the students that they were the future leaders of science in Africa and of their responsibility to use their science to benefit Africa and its development.

Four years after the colloquium a survey is being conducted to learn about participants' current careers, research outcomes, the contribution of the colloquium to their professional development and capacity building in Africa, and to find out how/whether they have risen to the challenge presented by Pete Lamb. The results of the survey will be presented at the symposium.

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