Even the best climate data do little good if policy-makers don’t make effective use of them (and you don’t need to look any further than North Carolina for a demonstration). And the best intentions of engaged policy-makers are ineffective if they’re not informed by reliable climate data, which is the situation, for example, in the Horn of Africa.
Climate scientists around the world have some ideas about how to fix those disconnects. Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University briefed an interdisciplinary group of N.C. A&T faculty members and students Tuesday on the Global Framework for Climate Services, the main research component of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Semazzi is an internationally prominent climate researcher and member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the WCRP.
One of the global framework’s strategies is to bring together climate researchers and end users, including leaders of government and the private sector. The key to success is involving end users at the beginning of the process, in defining research questions, Semazzi said.
“You can’t simply do the research and hope that someone finds a use for it,” he said. “Research needs to be responsive and synchronized with application.”
Researchers have successfully engaged government leaders in Africa, but huge gaps in observation capability on the continent have limited the effectiveness of their work. Now, with $75 million in international funding secured for demonstration projects, the gaps between capabilities and needs are starting to be addressed. Dr. Semazzi himself is leading a team in developing a hydroclimate project for the critical Lake Victoria Basin region.
The A&T faculty members and students in the audience are engaged in interdisciplinary Earth science and engineering research and represent disciplines including engineering, the physical sciences, and social sciences.
Dr. Semazzi is a Professor of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences and of Mathematics at N.C. State. He directs the NCSU Climate Modeling Laboratory and has conducted extensive research in climate variability in sub-Saharan Africa.
He has served as a program director at the National Science Foundation, as director of the Climate Information and Prediction Services program of the World Meteorological Organization, and as Senior Scientist with the WCRP’s Climate Variability and Predictability program.
Dr. Semazzi also contributed to the Third and Fourth Assessment Reports of the International Panel on Climate Change, the organization that received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.