Presentation: A Summary of HyVic

The primary overarching research hypothesis for HyVic is that the current trend of declining water resources in the region will bottom out during the next few decades and begin to increase sometime later on in this century. This has come to be known as the African climate change paradox. Previous studies have no consensus regarding the nature of the climatic trends associated with the paradox. The primary scientific challenge therefore is to reduce the present high levels of uncertainty associated with the paradox problem by ascertaining: (i) whether indeed the reversal will occur, (ii) the timing of when it will materialize, and (iii) whether these two factors will be determinable at acceptable levels of confidence to inform the management of the leading regional climate sectors. HyVic models will take into account the critical factors including the record projected urbanization of the LVB and comprehensive modeling of the role of Lake Victoria water circulation and temperature on the basin’s climate. These factors have not been fully taken into account in current climate change projection models and could significantly alter the outcome and resulting policy.

Lake_Victoria_500x334Photograph of Lake Victoria by Michell Zappa, used under Creative Commons license

The East African climate paradox problem has major climate risk management and policy implications for virtually all climate-sensitive sectors in the region. Addressing this grand challenge requires dedicated multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and international research collaboration to identify the leading policy issues, the corresponding climate vulnerability thresholds, and strategies for building resilience to climate variability and change. Presently, the links among the many international initiatives addressing different aspects of the problem are very weak or non-existent. Consequently, these initiatives operate independently and disjointedly. This results in inefficient use of fiscal and intellectual resources and failure to fill critical gaps in knowledge and in some cases unnecessary repetition. HyVic will build an international network among HyVic’s research, operational, policy-making, and stakeholder communities that will lead to resilience to climate variability and change in the region in the coming decades.

The HyVic network will connect the climate research community, the climate services operational provider community, the climate information stakeholders community, the internet provider community, and the capacity building & education community. HyVic’s collaboration with the weather research and prediction community includes activities to reduce the unacceptable number of deaths (3,000 to 5,000 fishermen every year) due to severe weather and water currents over Lake Victoria.