A team of researchers from SoGE and the Met Office, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa have been working together to establish a Model Evaluation Hub. This photo is from a meeting in Oxford in September 2018.

A team of researchers from SoGE and the Met Office, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, and South Africa have been working together to establish a Model Evaluation Hub. This photo is from a meeting in Oxford in September 2018.

Researchers from the School of Geography and the Environment (SoGE) have been awarded funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) to host the LaunchPAD (Priority on African Diagnostics) for a Climate Model Evaluation Hub for Africa.

It is widely recognised that African societies are highly vulnerable to climate change, meanwhile climate models - the best tools available to investigate future climate - struggle to represent African regions.

Recent projects, including groundbreaking research led by SoGE researchers in the UMFULA and IMPALA projects as part of the Future Climate for Africa programme, has greatly increased the understanding of African climate and how this is simulated by climate models. However this work is very time intensive, and, until now, it has been difficult to see how African climate science could "catch up" with other regions.

SoGE researchers Rachel James and Richard Washington are on a mission to change this outlook. In close collaboration with the Met Office, and a team of researchers from African universities in Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and South Africa, they have laid the foundations for a Model Evaluation Hub, designed to deliver a legacy of improved modelling of African climate. The Hub will connect African experts in weather and climate with climate modelling centres internationally, to jointly investigate how models represent African climate, and how this can be improved. The Hub will develop software tools which can be automated across climate models, to quickly increase the understanding of how models behave over African regions.

The Hub LaunchPAD will have a Priority on African Diagnostics, and develop the first software tools, through a fellowship program for 10 early career researchers based in African universities. The fellows will work closely with the leadership team in Oxford, the Met Office, and 4 African universities, as well as a researcher and scientific programmer based in SoGE. It is hoped that the LaunchPAD will not only fast track the Hub initiative, but also promote the fellows’ own careers in African climate science, in preparation for African leadership of the next phase of the Hub.