South Africa

Agricultural production under SRM in Southern Africa

Project summary

The South African DMF team, led by Dr Chris Lennard, is researching the potential impact of SRM on agricultural production in Southern Africa through an analysis of the large-scale prognostic drivers of extreme weather events. This work builds on their previous project (2018-2021) which assessed the impact of SRM on rainfall and temperature extremes in the region—Southern Africa being highly vulnerable to climate extremes such as droughts and heat stress. The team will now seek to evaluate the ability of climate models to reproduce the drivers of such extreme weather events, to quantify the projected changes in these circulations under low and high emission scenarios with and without SRM, and to explore the impact of SRM on two important crops in the region: maize and wheat. The project is hosted at the University of Cape Town.

Photo-like image of South Africa captured in April 2010 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Photo: NASA (Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team)

The team


Dr Christopher Lennard (PI)

University of Cape Town

Chris is a climate scientist at the Climate System Analysis Group (CSAG) whose interests include the co-development of regional climate information, regional climate modelling, renewable energy, extreme climate events, capacitating African climate scientists for climate science, and mountain biking and trail running. He is involved in a number of projects including as Co-PI on the Wind Atlas for South Africa (WASA) project, Co-PI on Health:RADAR to co-develop an open-source web-based platform for climate sensitive infectious disease modelling, and FOCUS-Africa to develop tailored climate services over Southern Africa. He has authored or co-authored over 60 papers and 5 book chapters including as a Lead Author in the IPCC Special Report on Land and Climate, and the Africa chapters of the IPCC AR5 and AR6. He serves as co-chair of the WCRP Academy, whose role is to develop capacity for climate research, particularly in developing countries and facilitates the CORDEX-Africa initiative that capacitates African climate scientists and builds our understanding of how climate change may impact Africa. He serves on the WCRP Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project steering committee and the Vulnerability, Impacts, Adaptation and Climate Services (VIACS) Advisory Board. He is dad to two young boys, aged 7 and 9, who inspire his research.


Dr Romaric Odoulami (Co-PI)

University of Cape Town

Romaric C. Odoulami is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative, an interdisciplinary research and training institute at the University of Cape Town. He completed a PhD degree in Meteorology and Climate Science in 2016 from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (Nigeria). His current works include the understanding of the large-scale atmospheric drivers of extreme weather and climate events in Southern Africa and assessing the potential contribution of anthropogenic factors on their likelihood in a changing climate context. These are part of the AXA Research Chair Programme in African Climate Risk. His previous works include the use of regional climate models to assess the potential impacts of a geoengineering scheme (large-scale afforestation) on characteristics of climate extremes over West Africa.

Prof. Babatunde Abiodun

University of Cape Town

Babatunde J. Abiodun is an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where he lectures and coordinates the Atmospheric Science Programme for the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University Missouri Kansas City (USA). Prior to joining UCT in 2008, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Iowa State University (USA) and a Lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Akure (Nigeria). His research interest is in the development and application of atmospheric modelling. At Iowa State, he led the development of a global atmospheric model with grid adaptation. Dr Abiodun is an international scholar who has co-authored 3 book chapters and published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in high-profile international journals. He served as a Lead Author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change (AR5) 2013: The Physical Science Basis. He has been funded by agencies like the global change SysTem for Analysis Research and Training (START), the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Southern Africa Water Research Commission (WRC) to focus on the development and application of climate models to improve knowledge on regionally-extensive drought over Africa, extreme weather and climate events, and impacts of reforestation activities on regional climates. He is a member of the Council of the Society of South African Geographers (SSAG).

Dr Temitope Egbebiyi

University of Cape Town

Temitope S. Egbebiyi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Climate System Analysis Group, Department of Environmental and Geographical Science (EGS), University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. He is a young and upcoming scientist with his first degree in Meteorology, an MSc and PhD degree in Environmental and Geographical Science. He has developed a strong research interest in regional climate modelling, extreme weather events, crop modelling, climate change impacts studies, agrometeorology and adaptation strategies with the aim to contribute to knowledge in this area. This motivated his PhD thesis titled “Spatio-temporal effects of projected climate on future crop suitability over West Africa”. He is a member of the CORDEX Africa, a multi-disciplinary, vibrant research group. He has presented some of his research findings at national and international conferences and recently won the best poster award at the 2018 South African Society for Atmospheric Sciences conference. He has led and co-authored some publications.

Prof. Mark New

University of Cape Town & University of East Anglia

Mark New is Director of ACDI at UCT, and AXA Research Chair in African Climate Risk. His current research is focused on the attribution of the relative influence of climate change and ways impacted systems are managed, on the severity of environmental, social, and economic impacts of extreme climate events. He has over 80 peer-reviewed publications in climate science, impacts and adaptation, and has managed over thirty research and consulting projects. He has supervised 18 PhD, 15 Masters students, and 24 post-doctoral researchers.

Dr Izidine Pinto

University of Cape Town

Izidine Pinto is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in a vibrant multi-disciplinary research centre. Pinto holds both an MSc and a PhD degree in Environmental and Geographical Science from UCT from 2015. His research focuses on the development of regional climate change information through the framework of distillation, downscaling and understanding the driving dynamics, and relevant methodological developments for the tailoring of climate information to stakeholder needs. This work is part of the Future Resilience for African Cities and Lands (FRACTAL) project. He is also working on the understanding of changes in albedo and the effect on the local climate of Southern Africa.