Friday, September 02, 2011

ORI Seminar:Climatic and hydrological changes in the Okavango Delta.

During the period of 2009-2010 several parts of the world have experienced remarkably extreme meteorological events. In the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, the 2009-2011 floods were unexpectedly high, reaching magnitudes last seen 30-40 years ago, and considerably affecting life of local populations and the economically important tourism industry.In his seminar presentation, Climatic and hydrological changes in the Okavango Delta, ORI Professor, Piotr Wolski's paper was an attempt at identifying the climatological causes of these events in the context of their predictability using seasonal weather forecasts and to assess the extent to which these events are attributable to GHG-driven climate change as opposed to natural variability. The study is based on an ensemble of runs of the HadAM3P model, forced by a) observed SST fields (GHG world) and b) SSTs with effects of historical anthropogenic forcings removed (non-GHG world). Changes in inundation distribution within the Okavango Delta are, however, not just a product of exogenous or climatic influences. Endogeneous changes related to geomorphological and vegetation development of the system can cause redistribution of water which result in some parts drying, while others are subject to more extensive flooding.

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