WASCAL/CONCERT Mole national park station setup 2023 (Ghana)
West-Africa is characterized by strong population growth. Although it contributes only a very small share (2-3%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is at the same time particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Droughts, heavy rainfall events and intensification of agriculture are leading to changes in water balance, soil moisture and altered nitrogen and carbon cycles.
These environmental changes can have major negative impacts for the population living on subsistence agriculture. There usually is no governmental support or other insurance options for crop failures.
Due to the regional vulnerabilities to climate change, it is important to improve the climate predictions for West-Africa. Therefore, it is important to study and understand the interplay between water balance, soil moisture, nitrogen and carbon balance. So far there has been little scientific data collection for this region. In order to be able to determine the environmental parameters relevant to climate, the increase of greenhouse gases due to land use change and the possibilities for reducing these emissions, improving the data basis is of great importance. Within the framework of the BMBF WASCAL/CONCERT project an Eddy-Covariance-Station (EC) is currently being set up in Mole National Park, an undisturbed savannah region in northwestern Ghana. It can measure gas, water and energy exchange between the ground and the near-ground air layer. Equally important for the detection of greenhouse gases is the detection of methane emissions and soil moisture. Especially for methane emissions it is important to discover the difference between rice croplands and undisturbed savanna soils. Soil moisture is determined by state-of-the-art measurement techniques from cosmic rays. For future comparisons of different land uses, the current monitoring station setup is essential as well as the monitoring station set up in June 2022 on a rice-growing area in Janga, south of Bolgatanga in Ghana. In the course of the WASCAL/CONCERT project climate measuring devices worth approximately 300,000€ will be set up in Ghana. The procurement, installation and support of the climate measuring device infrastructure represents a considerable logistical challenge, which is carried out in german-african teamwork.
The experience in the climate measurement infrastructure has been built up over the last 15 years in the Tereno preAlpine project. Climate measurements are prerequisite for the validation and improvement of climate models and at the same time a prerequisite for the estimation of future developments.
The WASCAL/CONCERT project is a BMBF project with project partners from KIT/IMK-IFU, the University of Augsburg, Forschungszentrum Jülich, DLR and West African partners of WASCAL, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and United Nations University, Institute for Natural Resources in Ghana, Federal University of Technology, Akura in Nigeria and Agriculture, Hydrology, Météorologie Regional Center in Niger.
Contact person: Prof. Dr. Harald Kunstmann, KIT Campus Alpin und Uni Augsburg