UCD’s School of Earth Sciences collaboration with Irish-based NGO Self Help Africa (SHA)
Work by UCD Earth Sciences Postdoc Dr. Nick Scroxton was featured in the Irish Times last week. The article details the work of Irish NGO Self Help Africa in tackling the issues raised by shifting rainfall patterns in southern Africa. Rainfed agriculture is crucial to millions of lives in southern Africa. Self Help Africa aims to understand how rainfall patterns are changing and to help local farmers adapt and continue to feed their families. As part of their work tackling hunger and climate resiliency, Self Help Africa works with researchers throughout Ireland to bring a scientific approach to their work. This includes SMS message systems for weather alerts, apps to virus pest damage in cassava, and machine learning algorithms to track the progress of the Fallarmy Worm from satellites.
Dr. Scroxton is one of those researchers working with Self Help Africa, with part of his research interested in how rainfall variability has changed in Zambia and Malawi in the past. Using a combination of weather station data, satellite estimates of rainfall and geochemical analysis of stalagmites, Dr. Scroxton aims to build up a picture on what processes are behind changes in rainfall variability, flooding and drought. Understanding past changes will help inform how rainfall will change in the future under climate change. It is hoped that new insights into the behaviour of the climate system will give researchers, NGOs and farmers on the ground a head start in tackling changes in rainfall.
The full article can be viewed here:
news/science/shifting- rainfall-patterns-a-growing- threat-to-farming-in-sub- saharan-africa-1.4227780