Locating Climate Insecurity: Where are the Most Vulnerable Places in Africa?

“Africa may be the continent most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The challenges are not uniformly distributed across Africa, with different regions exhibiting susceptibility to different types of problems. In a paper presented to the conference on Climate Change, Social Stress and Violent Conflict in Hamburg, Germany, CCAPS researchers, led by Dr. Joshua Busby, locate the confluence of vulnerabilities in African regions through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and multi-layered mapping.

“The study identified four main processes that encompass different aspects of vulnerability: (1) physical exposure to climatological disasters, (2) household and community vulnerability, (3) governance and political violence, and (4) population density. Each of these areas of vulnerability was given equal weight in the final vulnerability analysis. Within three of the four areas, a number of different indicators were identified that contribute to that dimension of vulnerability. Indicators within each area were assigned equal weight unless there were missing data for an indicator.

“Findings: the composite vulnerability map (see Figure x.5, p. 25) shows a number of interesting patterns. Areas with the greatest vulnerability are parts of Madagascar, coastal West Africa, coastal Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. More important than mere identification, however, is an in-depth examination of the drivers of this vulnerability, which can in turn inform appropriate policies and interventions. The elevated level of vulnerability does not result from the same elements in each of these places. In some cases, extreme exposure to climatological disasters makes an area very vulnerable, and physical adaptation strategies may be needed to reduce vulnerability. In other areas, though, poor governance or limited household and community resources for maintaining health and education may be more important than the magnitude of the physical climatological impacts. In those cases, improving governance, reducing violent events and improving access to health care, education and daily necessities may do more to reduce vulnerability than physical adaptation strategies. Uniform strategies will not be effective across this diverse continent.

“This working paper is based on a paper initially presented at the conference on “Climate Change, Social Stress and Violent Conflict” in Hamburg, Germany in November 2009. Part of the program on Climate Change and African Political Stability, principal investigator: Dr. Francis J. Gavin.”

Using GIS to Create an Agro-climatic Zone Map for Soroti District, Uganda

Geospatial World, 16 August 2010

Balungi Francis

“This project examines the use of GIS in creating an agro-climatic zone map. The map recognises that the major aspects of climate that affect plant growth are moisture availability and temperature. The agro-climatic zones are therefore specific combinations of moisture availability zones and temperature zones. The project was undertaken following the variability of rainfall and recurrent droughts in the country that affects the lives of millions of people whose livelihood is mainly dependent on agriculture. The project is of much importance as it is aimed at showing areas that are climatologically suitable for particular crops and also as a guide to the work of planners and farmers. The goal of this study is to extrapolate empirical research findings from the map for agric-environmental experimental design and as a framework for assessment of the impact of climate change on Soroti region agriculture. The objectives were achieved using Idris32 software incorporating various methods. A temperature map was created from a derived relationship (regression equation) between temperature and elevation using tabular temperature and elevation data obtained from four weather stations. The temperature zones were created by reclassifyng the temperature map. An evaporation map was created using a published relationship between evaporation and temperature. The moisture availability map was created by getting the ratio of rainfall map to evaporation. Moisture zones were created by reclassifying the moisture availability map. An agro climatic zone map was then created through a combination of the temperature zones with the moisture zones. The agro climatic zone map was classified using the Köppen and Thornthwaite agro climatic classification system. Finally crop growth in each zone was selected through a comparison of the temperature and moisture requirements for each crop based on published FAO data (climatic adaptability of crops) with the prevailing temperature and moisture conditions in each zone. The agro climatic zones were suitable for the growth of cassava, sweet potatoes, rice, sorghum, maize, millet and ground nuts. The results show that zones in the humid and dry-sub humid regions are highly suitable for agricultural production than those in the semi arid regions. The results are recommended for use on a lager scale only if they are accurate and representative of the climatic conditions in the selected region of the country. However, if many alternatives are to be included based on the stated criterion, an agro-ecological zone map should be created.”

Affordance-based Categorization of Road Network Data using a Grounded Theory of Channel Networks

International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Volume 24, Issue 8 August 2010 , pages 1249 – 1267

Simon Scheider; Werner Kuhn

“We propose a grounded ontological theory of channel networks to categorize features, such as junctions, in road network databases. The theory is grounded, because its primitives can be given an unambiguous interpretation into directly observable qualities of physical road networks, such as supported movements and their medium, connectedness of such media, and turnoff restrictions. The theory provides a very general approach to automatically annotate and integrate road network data from heterogeneous sources, because it rests on application-independent observation principles. We suggest that road network categories such as junctions and roads are based on locomotion affordances. Road network databases can be mapped into our channel network theory, so that instances of roads and junctions can be automatically categorized or checked for consistency by what they afford. In this paper, we introduce affordance-based definitions of a road network and a junction, and show that the definition of latter is satisfied by some of the most common junction types. ”

Quote of the Day

“Current tendencies in many countries towards teaching to standardized exams puts us at risk of sliding toward the educational equivalent of fast food, instead of toward education providing the critical thinking society demands.”

–Dr. Michael Gould, Esri

Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Congestion in Urban Transportation Networks

Swiss Transport Research Conference, August 2010

Yuxuan Ji and Nikolas Geroliminis

“It has been recently shown that a macroscopic fundamental diagram (MFD) linking space-mean flow, density and speed exists in the urban transportation networks under some conditions. An MFD is further well defined if the network is homogeneous with links of similar properties. However many real urban transportation networks are heterogeneous with different levels of congestion. The objective of this paper is to study the existence of MFD and the feasibility of simple control strategies to alleviate the congestion in the heterogeneous networks, which can be partitioned into homogeneous components. To achieve these goals, this paper focuses on the clustering of transportation networks based on the spatial and temporal features of congestion. A partitioning mechanism, which consists of three consecutive algorithms, is designed to minimize the variance of link densities while maintaining the spatial compactness of the clusters. Small variance of link densities within a cluster increases the aggregated flow for the same average density and spatial compactness makes feasible the application of perimeter control strategies. Firstly, Normalized Cut is applied to over segment the network into several clusters and a new metric is introduced to evaluate the partitioning results. Secondly, a merging algorithm is developed to improve the metric and total variance of link densities, and the optimal number of clusters is estimated and determined. Finally, a boundary adjustment algorithm is designed to further improve the metric and decrease the variances of the clusters while keeping the compactness of the shapes. Both the objectives of smaller variances and spatial compactness can be achieved after this partitioning mechanism. The simulation further demonstrates the superiority of our method in both effectiveness and robustness compared with other clustering algorithms.”