African Nations' Representatives at Greenhouse Gas Workshop

Posted by fh56 at Aug 23, 2011 08:43 AM |
Greenhouse gas emissions were the focus of an international workshop at the University of Leicester attended by participants from Africa and the UK.
African Nations' Representatives at Greenhouse Gas Workshop


The Geography Department at Leicester, together with the European project CARBOAFRICA and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, held a Training Course on "Remote sensing of fire for national greenhouse gas accounting". 14 participants from African countries and the UK took part in the event.

The event aimed to train African experts in best practice of accounting for greenhouse gas emissions from fires for the purposes of reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change using satellite data.

Professor Heiko Balzter, Head of the Department of Geography at Leicester, said: "At the CARBOAFRICA consortium meeting in Ghana, our African partners made us aware of a significant training need for African specialists on how to use satellite remote sensing data of biomass burning to monitor greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. We then agreed to hold the training at Leicester.

"During the course the participants worked with satellite images of burned areas in Africa, calculated statistics for different land cover types and administrative areas from the data files and learned how to fill in the greenhouse gas accounting tables provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We also had several presentations on the state of the art in characterising fires from satellite instruments, how to use computer models to simulate greenhouse gas dynamics and how to estimate gas emissions from satellite and ancillary information.

“About 2 million square kilometres of savannah are burning in Africa every year. The world needs to know the amount of greenhouse gases that is released from these fires, particularly those other than non-carbon dioxide. This is because the amount of carbon dioxide released from savannah fires is taken out of the atmosphere when the savannah grasses regrow after the fire. However, other fire related emissions include carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxides and smoke particles that can affect human health and are also climatically active. This training course was the first of its kind and defines a new best practice how satellite data can be used to improve our knowledge of climate change. I got very positive feedback from all participants. They were a group from different cultural, national and professional backgrounds, which made the course very exciting and led to a great exchange of ideas.”

The course was taught by recognised international experts:
Ms. Sally Archibald, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa Prof. Heiko Balzter, University of Leicester, UK Dr. Diane Davies, University of Maryland, USA Dr. Veiko Lehsten, University of Lund, Sweden Dr. Kevin Tansey, University of Leicester, UK Prof. Martin Wooster, Kings College London, UK

"The workshop was well organized, the notes well delivered, the instructors very competent and the content very beneficial. I personally plan to use the material in my lectures and get students to do research in the areas we covered.", said workshop participant Dr. Anthony Gidudu, a lecturer at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda."

Professor Balzter added: "Overall, the workshop was a full success and I received very positive feedback from the participants, some of whom will use the teaching material in their home countries in their own education system."

Because of its success, all training materials will be made available online on the University's Geography web site, the MIMAS web site at Manchaster and the CARBOAFRICA project web page.

For more information, please contact:
Prof. Heiko Balzter, Professor of Physical Geography,September

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