Uncertainty reduction in models for understanding development (UMFULA)
Economic growth in Central and Southern Africa is occurring against a backdrop of high exposure and vulnerability to climate change, but with relatively low capacity for adaptation. Major infrastructural investments with 5-40 year lifetimes are being planned and implemented in the region – many in the absence of climate information. Ensuring they are viable in a changing climate is essential, yet decision-makers face significant challenges in assessing how climate change affects investment decisions. UMFULA’s overarching aims are to address critical knowledge gaps in the understanding of the region’s climate and communicate effectively climate information to decision-makers; both are crucial to enable climate resilient development in Central and Southern Africa.
UMFULA – Uncertainty reduction in Models For Understanding development (UMFULA means ‘river’ in Zulu) – is a four-year international research project led by the Grantham Research Institute that aims to link climate information to development decisions and inform response strategies through:
- Providing new insights and more reliable information about climate processes and extremes in Central and Southern Africa, and
- Understanding local contexts to test and compare approaches to decision-making under uncertainty and develop policy options compatible over a range of uncertain climatic and socio-economic futures.
The project team works in collaboration with stakeholders in Tanzania and Malawi, both at national level and local level in the Rufiji River Basin and the Shire River Basin, to apply the research findings in local decision-making contexts and inform the design of a transferable approach to integration of climate services for decision-making.
The Rufiji produces half of Tanzania’s river flow, supplies water for 4.5 million people and generates 80% of the country’s hydropower. Multiple stakeholders within the river basin are currently planning major medium to long-term investments, such as the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, to meet the government’s development plan. These developments, together with increasing demands on water resources within the context of a changing climate, will affect key water-using sectors, involving important trade-offs among water uses.
The Lake Malawi Shire River Basin covers most of Malawi, and Lake Malawi outflows into the Shire River are critical to support major elements of Malawi’s economy and biodiversity – hydropower, irrigation and environmental flows. As for Tanzania, important trade-offs will have to be made across sectoral water requirements of agriculture, energy and the environment.
Writeshops – key tools for generating outputs in international research projects (Blog)
Going local: Evaluating and regionalizing a global hydrological model’s simulation of river flows in a medium-sized East African basin (published in Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies)
How do staff motivation and workplace environment affect capacity of governments to adapt to climate change in developing countries? (published in: Environmental Science & Policy)
Conflicting policies impeding climate change efforts (news article)
Climate change adaptation and cross-sectoral policy coherence in southern Africa (published in Regional Environmental Change)
Climate change and the water–energy–food nexus: insights from policy and practice in Tanzania (published in Climate Policy)
Future climate projections for Tanzania
Future climate projections for Malawi
Climate, dams and data in Tanzania – blog
Consortium members and partners
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (lead), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Kulima Integrated Development Solutions, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Cape Town, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Yaounde, University of Leeds, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of Sussex.
UMFULA is one of the five research consortia which form the Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) Programme, jointly funded by the UK Department for International Development and the UK Natural Environment Research Council.