East Africa is developing rapidly, with many decisions being taken now which will have consequences for decades to come. Due to climate change, we do not expect the weather and climate in the coming decades to be the same as those in the past, which must be accounted for in decision making. For many of these long-term decisions, and for sustainable development, availability of water is fundamental. However, this vital resource and the livelihoods it supports are already under stress from land degradation, pollution and overfishing. Climate change adds to these problems, greatly increasing the vulnerability of the poorest people in the region.
HyCRISTAL focuses on tropical East Africa; a region where, close to the equator, there are two rainy seasons per year. The socio-economic focus region is the area of the East African Community states (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) with climate science addressing a wider region including Somalia and southern Ethiopia. HyCRISTAL is supported by the East African Community and is linked to the World Meterological Office GWEX programme project HyVic.
Climate projections show a warming trend in East Africa in the decades ahead, but changes in rainfall are more uncertain. Changes in weather extremes are expected, although the likely magnitudes of these are currently unclear. HyCRISTAL aims to tackle current uncertainties that exist around climate change projections for the region, concentrating in particular on what they mean for the availability and management of water. HyCRISTAL is working with the region’s decision makers to integrate this information to current long-term planning and decision-making.