Ambitious Plans Underway For Homegrown South African Climate Change Model

Developing South Africa's capacity to predict and adapt to the global climate crisis is critical

By Tony Carnie

“We should not just sit and wait for others to bring us solutions. We should be part of the solution.”

Developing South Africa’s capacity to predict and adapt to the global climate crisis is critical, and local scientists have an ambitious plan to develop the country’s first “homegrown” weather and climate change modelling system.

Put in simple terms, a “numerical climate modelling system” involves using mathematical models of the atmosphere, land surface and oceans to simulate future climate scenarios. It makes use of supercomputers, parallel computing, satellites, radiosondes and other technology. It depends on people with highly-specialised skills in areas such as mathematics, physics, numerical modelling and computer programming.

Such a project, led by a group of specialists from the South African Weather Service (SAWS), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the universities of Witwatersrand, Pretoria and Cape Town, has just received a major financial boost with a US$100,000 (R1.4 million) grant in a research scheme which involves the African Academy of Sciences, the United Nations, World Meteorological Organisation and other partners. Read more…

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