IRI @ Paris #CFCC15

The International Scientific Conference “Our Common Future under Climate Change” will take place in Paris, July 6-9, 2015.

This four-day conference will be the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, aka COP21, which will be hosted by France in December 2015. Building on the results of IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), the conference will address key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. It will offer an opportunity to discuss solutions for both mitigation and adaptation issues.

A number of IRI scientists will be presenting at the conference. Here’s a schedule of our events.

July 7, 11:00-13:00 (Paris time)

Panel discussion: Coping with Climate Disasters

Maarten V. Aalst, IRI Adjunct Research Scientist, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Director

July 7, 16:30

Linking past, present and future climate change to adaptation in the African Sahel

Alessandra Giannini, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@llasela

A novel interpretation for the role of the oceans in affecting rainfall trends in the Sahel. This interpretation consistently explains past drought, partial recovery, and the current alternation of wet and dry states on daily-to-interannual time scales. It also sheds light on the uncertainty in future projections, relating them to the uncertainty in patterns of sea-surface temperature change. This presentation aims to frame the physical context in which to discuss societal response to drought in the Sahel, and its applicability to adaptation to current variability and future change.

July 7, 18:30-19:30

Climate Information for Public Health in Africa in the context of Climate Change Adaptation

Madeleine Thomson, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@nosmohtm

Climate information can play a role in helping societies to better manage health risks brought about by climate variability and change. The approach by IRI and its partners has evolved to respond to user needs for information on the past, present and future climate to better understand mechanisms by which climate impacts disease, map populations at risk, develop early warning systems, better understand trends in disease incidence  associated with climate shifts and improve the evaluation of the impacts of climate-sensitive interventions. Central to IRI’s experience has been a keen awareness that climate information and products in Africa as elsewhere must be relevant to the health community and development partners and reflect prioritized needs within political and donor processes, while also offering innovations grounded in relevant and reliable observational data obtained through effective, efficient, credible and transparent means.

July 8, 15:00-16:30

Forest landscape management to create resilience in the face of climate change in West and Central Africa

Louis Verchot (Center for International Forestry), Kátia Fernandes, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@aitak

Deforestation in West and Central Africa is driven by economic concerns, primarily associated with the expansion of agriculture. This talk will look at the changing nature of climate and climate variability in the region and posit a number of climate associated risks for local livelihoods and economic development. We will then look at the goods and services provided by forests and examine the evidence that forests have an important role to play in resilience to climate variability and change. We will also look at how adaptation interests can be served by increasing tree plantations in rural African landscapes.

July 8, 15:42

Importance of Atlantic decadal variability for near-term assessment and predictability of western Amazon dry-season dry and wet events

Kátia Fernandes, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@aitak

Recurring droughts in the western Amazon may be a new normal, at least for the next few decades. This has implications for fire occurrence, forest degradation and the global carbon cycle. This research shows potential for decadal prediction of the region’s climate variability using global climate models, or GCMs.

July 8, 18:36

The IRI Data Library: Decision-Making Tool for Climate and Health

Pietro Ceccato, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@otaccecp

Public-health professionals need to use climate information for research and decision making on infections, vector-borne diseases such as malaria and visceral leishmaniasis. The challenge is in accessing relevant and timely quality-controlled data and information in formats that can be readily incorporated into analyses with other data sources. At IRI, we built an integrated knowledge system to support the use of climate and environmental information in climate-sensitive health decision making. First developed as an aid to climate scientists to do exploratory data analysis, the Data Library has emerged as a powerful tool for interdisciplinary researchers focused on topics related to climate impacts on society including health.

July 8, 17:30-19:00

Linkage between Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation

Maarten V. Aalst, IRI Adjunct Research Scientist, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Director

July 8, 17:30

Timescales of Change: Unraveling East Africa’s Climate Paradox

Brad Lyon, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@noylb

East Africa is currently facing something of a climate paradox.  Over roughly the past 15 years, the region has experienced an increased frequency of drought, particularly during the “long rains” season from March-May.  In a seeming contradiction, there is general consensus that the region will become wetter as a result of anthropogenic climate change by the end of the current century.  We review recent and ongoing research that is helping to explain the recent variations in East African climate. Notably, a combination of observational and climate model experiments indicate that the recent rainfall decline in East Africa has been associated with decadal-scale variations of the climate system, specifically in the Pacific Ocean.

July 9, 14:30-16:00

European Collaborative Research and Innovation for Climate Action

Maarten V. Aalst, IRI Adjunct Research Scientist, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre Director

July 9, 15:00

Enhancing National Climate Services for Development in Africa

Tufa Dinku, ude.aibmuloc.irinull@afut

The ENACTS (Enhancing National Climate Services) initiative is an ambitious effort to simultaneously improve the availability, access and use of climate information by working directly with national meteorological and hydrological services. It enables these agencies to provide enhanced services by overcoming the challenges of data quality, availability and access – while at the same time fostering stakeholder engagement and use. The new ENACTS data products allow for characterization of climate risks at a local scale, and potentially offer a low-cost, high impact opportunity to support applications and research. ENACTS has so far been implemented in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Rwanda and The Gambia at national levels, and at regional level for the CILSS countries (West African Sahel).