Funded by

European Commission FP6

Period of grant

10.2006 to 09.2008

Award personnel

Prof. Heiko Balzter, Dr Jörg Kaduk, Dr Sue Page, Dr Kevin Tansey


Africa is a region highly vulnerable to climatic change due to both ecological and socio-economic factors; however it is the least well-covered region by studies on climate change. The European funded project CARBOAFRICA has the goal to set up a first attempt of a greenhouse gas (GHG) flux monitoring network of Africa, in order to quantify, understand and predict, by a multi-disciplinary integrated approach, GHG emissions in Sub-Saharan Africa and its associated spatial and temporal variability. We also conduct specific regional studies in key areas, considering both carbon sources and sinks.
The components of the African greenhouse gas budget have so far not been adequately determined, and the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol requirements is yet to be achieved. Consequently, there is a significant need for an assessment of land use change, evaluating the potential for carbon sequestration in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the Kyoto Protocol. The existing GHG observations capabilities for fluxes and stocks of carbon, their geographical distribution, and the end user requirements for the implementation of UNFCCC and IPCC guidelines will be used to design an optimal monitoring system network and the identification of its components.

The CARBOAFRICA network will contribute to the enhancement of an Earth observation system, strengthening the capacity of Europe to understand and quantify global change process. The scientific and technological results, in addition to the capacity building activities foreseen by this project, will promote the integration of the environmental dimension in the social and economic context, supporting Sub-Saharan African countries on the path of a sustainable development.

The University of Leicester will take a lead role studying fire-climate-carbon cycle interactions on regional and continental scales, particularly to contribute to the quantification of the Sub-Saharan African fire-related carbon emissions and fire-vegetation feedbacks, and their regional and interannual variation using an integrated state-of-the art remote sensing and process-based modelling methodology. The focus will be the development of an improved and validated algorithm to estimate carbon emission from fires combining burned area and fire radiative energy approaches; derivation of remote sensing datasets of fire variability and an analysis of influencing factors, including climatic oscillations (e.g. El Nino), population density, land cover type and meteorology; and liaising with the modellers in the team to incorporate knowledge of the driving factors of fire in different parts of the study region into fire models.

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