Global Climate Change Education Cooperative - Florida Climate Institute

Contact Person: Southworth, Jane

Collaborators: M.Binford, L. Cassidy, B.Child, E. Keys, G.Kiker, R.Munoz-Carpena, P.Waylen

Institutions: University of Florida

Funding Agency: NASA

Start: September 2009    End: September 2013

Status: Funded

Filed Under: Climate SciencesEducationLand

Abstract: We ask "how does climate variability and climate change influence land use and land cover change as it works through socio-economic institutions?" To answer this question, the proposed project develops a temporally and spatially multiscale understanding of the relationships between land-cover and land-use change (LCLUC) and climatic shifts in three watersheds that lie in four southern African nations. We hypothesize that socio-economic institutions are the main instruments of human adaptation to climate variability and change, and that the observable outcomes of institutional adaptations are seen in the spatial and material expression of LCLUC. This study will test the resilience of the socio-ecological systems of southern Africa, enhance the use of remote sensing, and provide models for climate scenario planning. Specific research activities will develop relationships between climate data (station data), Tropical Rainfall Monitoring Mission (TRMM) data (1999 onwards, spatially interpolated station data and satellite data combined) and surface vegetation properties in terms of land cover changes (with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)). Describing and explaining natural climate variability enables us to match this variability with social processes, livelihoods and economics and link these to past changes in LCLUC and climate. Future regional climate scenarios will be incorporated based on the IPCC and implications for both the social and ecological systems will be tested using both the SAVANNA model (Coughenour, 1992; Boone et al., 2002) and the QnD modeling system (Kiker et al., 2006).