Wednesday, 12 January 2005: 2:15 PM
CLIP: Climate-land interaction project—Investigating human-climate interactions in East Africa
Land use transformation has accelerated in East Africa during recent decades, driven by population dynamics, changing economies, changing governmental policies, investment in regional agriculture and other activities, developing infrastructure, and the introduction and development of irrigated agriculture. These factors are likely to interact with climatic factors in pressuring people to transition their livelihoods among the various options that include pastoralism, subsistence farming, commercial agriculture, or urban based opportunities. The resulting land use/land cover transformations have the potential to alter the regional climate. Much of this effect may be local, with surface-atmosphere fluxes of water and energy being modified, resulting in small-scale alterations in air circulation, temperature, and perhaps precipitation. Given sufficient magnitude of the change in land surface characteristics and of the area affected, the effects can possibly become notable on larger spatial scales, such as in the monsoon circulation. While changes in land use and land cover may result in discernable changes in climate, the climate itself may likewise impact human choices and natural effects on land use/land cover, leading to a potential feedback effect. In order to investigate this potential feedback at a variety of spatial scales, this project will employ a suite of models feeding into one another, including a regional climate model based on RAMS, a climate-agricultural productivity model, and a land transformation model, supplemented with a wide array of contextual information from the region.