Title: Developing Monitoring Tools for Managing Drought Risk and addressing the Riddle of Increased Drought Tendency amidst the Wetter Climate Change Projections for Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Principal investigator: Dr. Lareef Zubair
Duration: October 2014-September 2015
Startup phase of this project took up some time and energy as we made arrangements in relation to the multi-country project. Work on this project picked up in spite of national parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka leading to a change in government and political turmoil in Maldives, and by the end of the year we are nearly on track. The infrastructure required for research has been improved with the purchase of computers, server, peripherals, weather stations and terrestrial probes.
We were able to acquire a good fraction of the data required for this data intensive project – particularly on drought in Sri Lanka and on climate in the Maldives. Further data gathering is going on particularly for climate in Sri Lanka and water scarcity in the Maldives. We have set up Geographic Information Systems for both countries. We have obtained some of the new observational equipment for observations needed for water scarcity and climate (weather stations) and installed the majority of them and are uploading the data to the Internet, but we still have to obtain some additional equipment (soil moisture instruments, data loggers) and to be able to keep these systems operational most of the time.
We continued our weekly, monthly and annual climate assessments for Sri Lanka and Maldives and have made it publicly available via our websites, disseminated it by blogs (through signing up for blog aggregators), facebook pages, twitter accounts and through a mailing list. We have developed algorithms to estimate drought indices based on climate indices for both Maldives and Sri Lanka. Testing is required with the data to be acquired before its release and shall be completed in the coming year. We have progressed towards developing a water scarcity tool by island for Maldives based on climate observations and a systems dynamics tool; we expect to release a web-based version the coming year after testing for additional data.
We hosted a national workshop on climate and water scarcity in the Maldives in September – with the attendance of key personnel in the water sector in the Maldives in collaboration with the Maldives National University, the Ministry of Environment, Maldives Meteorological Service, Male Water Supply Company, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Red Cross, LaMER international, UNDP and USAID. The state Minister of Environment participated along with the USAID officials and contracts in charge of an ongoing Climate and Water Security project.
The presentations from this workshop was compiled and video recordings have been prepared as DVD’s for future reference. This work has been included in the courses taught at the University of Peradeniya and Maldives National University by the co-PI. Eight junior researchers from Sri Lanka and Maldives obtained on the job training on this work.
Engagement with Stakeholders: Zeenas Yahiya (PI) and Rimza Muhlis visited Maldives for a week for partnership arrangements. We made administrative and financial arrangements in the Maldives through discussions with Maldives partners (Ms. Mizna Mohamed, Ms. Hudha Ahmed), we also visited the Bank of Ceylon and HSBC, Male, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs to investigate the financial arrangements that are possible; and alternate arrangements for financial managements were investigated. We had email and telephone interactions with the USAID staff. Lareef Zubair (co-PI) met with USAID Maldives Environmental Team (Jeanette Normand, etc) in November to discuss how this work could liase with USAID efforts; he visited Maldives for a week in December 2014 for discussion with the Maldivian Partners (Dr. Mizna Mohamed, – Maldives National University, Mr. Mohamed Rasheed – Male Water Supply Company and Dr. Wahid – Maldives Meteorological Service, Ms. Hudha Ahmed - Renewable Energy Maldives).
We also had consultations with the National Disaster Management Unit. In September 2015, FECT Co-PI Dr. Lareef Zubair, PI- Zeenas Yahiya, researchers Prabodha Agalawatte, and Janan Viswanathan visited Maldives and met with Maldives Co-PI Dr. Mizna Mohamed, Dr. Shazla Mohamed (Maldives National University); Dr. Zahid (Maldives Meteorological Services); Mr. Mohamed Rasheed (Male’ Water and Sewerage Company); Mr. Nishan Ahmed (Maldives Health Protection Authority); Dr. Aslam (LaMER group Maldives); Ms. Nihani Riza (USAID) and Mr. Abdul Matheen Mohamed (Minister of State for Environment and Energy). During our visits we reaffirmed partnerships and encouraged several scientists in Maldives to apply for the PEER phase 4. Visits were undertaken separately by the PI and co-PI to our partners in Sri Lanka– the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, and the University of Peradeniya. We had consultations with the Director-General to take our products, and Director of the Water Management Secretariat, Dam Safety Division, and staff in Hydro-Meteorological Information Service.
Staffing: We advertised for staff in newspapers in Sri Lanka (Sunday Times) and Maldives (Haveeru newspaper), interviewed the applicants and recruited two junior scientists, and administrative aide to work on the project.
Infrastructure: Computers and new weather stations were obtained in addition to supplies. The weather stations are installed in places where we shall be conducting detailed studies. Internet connectivity was augmented for this project.
Mentoring Junior Scientists: Six junior scientists are being oriented on existing literature, software, data and tools for the work under this project. Training has been provided on scientific programming languages (fortran) and data management tools (perl) in addition to advanced work with standard programs such as Excel and Access. Training on web technologies were obtained for our staff members at ESoft.
They were also trained in producing climate bulletins, managing climate data, climate analysis and bibliographic management. Internship opportunities were provided at FECT for undergraduates from the University of Peradeniya and NIBM Sri Lanka. A Maldivian student following the MDP course in the University of Peradeniya was recruited to work for the project.
Development of Data Holdings: We have archived drought disaster records from 1974 from official records of the National Disaster Management Centre for Sri Lanka. Drought hazard by district were estimated from Disaster Data for Sri Lanka and mapped. Work on quality testing of these records and comparison with other databases is ongoing. Long term data records are being sought in Maldives.Drought records for Maldives are still being assembled as these are not readily available. The investigators met with officials of the National Disaster Management Unit in the Maldives and have initiated the process of assembling drought records.
Meteorological Data: We have updated our data holdings for 6 stations up to December of 2014 for Maldives. Requests were made to MMS. The records for Sri Lanka needs to be updated since we have only had partial holdings since 2002. This work is still going on. Automated weather systems: They are functioning satisfactorily. The data logging is automated, and the updates are communicated via the internet. The data is being updated to the website http://www.tropicalclimate.org/myweatherdirectory/index.htm We contributed two automated weather stations; one to the Maldivian National University, and another to the LaMER (Pvt) Ltd in Maldives.
Drought Monitoring Tools: Continued dissemination of drought monitoring products for Sri Lanka and Maldives, for stakeholders and users. The meteorological drought indices were mapped for Maldives using satellite data. While we continue to produce the Weekly climate reports for Sri Lanka, (available at http://fectsl.blogspot.com); and Monthly climate reports for the Maldives (available at http://fectmv.blogspot.com), we have also included drought statements explicitly in these reports. A new email format for sending the monthly Maldivian climate reports along with implementing a mail management program and mailing lists was developed, and these reports are being distributed via mail chimp effectively. Improved formatting of the monthly climate reports for access by low-bandwidth mobile devices.
Water Scarcity Assessments: We have begun to deepen the assessment of water scarcity for Greater Male region. Given the breakdown in water supply, there is an opportunity to highlight the role of natural sources of water supply. Field work is being carried out by the Maldivian co-PI on assessing the public response to regulations in some of the outer islands from Male.
Develop future projections of drought: We have characterized climate variability at seasonal scale. The projections for drought based on the IPCC’s CMIP5 archive have been generated for the mid-twenty first century based on a high-emission scenario for Sri Lanka. We are continuing this work for the near-future and for the low and medium emission scenarios.
Field Work: Focused on the Pinga Oya Catchment of the Mahaweli River basin systems, and the islands around Male, Maldives.
Related Projects: A minor role was provided to FECT by the University of Notre Dame to support their work on setting up Atmospheric Waves across the tropical Indian Ocean. This role is assisted by the capacity developed through PEER.
Dissemination: Continued to share project related work through FECT websites, and blog. Continued generating climate advisories for Sri Lanka and Maldives. Conducted a workshop in Maldives on Climate and Water Security. Conducted workshop on Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka. A brochure on FECT Maldives, and two project flyers were prepared and distributed in Maldives and Sri Lanka. Seven posters on Maldives work, and five posters related to work in Sri Lanka were displayed at the poster session held in the Maldives National University.
Zubair, L., Nissanka, S.P., Weerakoon, W.M.W., Herath, D.I., Karunaratne, A.S., Agalawatte, A.S.M.P.M.B., Herath, R.M., Yahiya, S.Z., Punyawardhene, B.V.R. and Vishwanathan, J., 2015. Climate Change Impacts on Rice Farming Systems in North Western Sri Lanka. In HANDBOOK OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGROECOSYSTEMS: The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project Integrated Crop and Economic Assessments, Part 2 (pp. 315-352).
McDermid, S. P., Guntuku Dileepkumar, K. M. Dakshina Murthy, S. Nedumaran, Piara Singh, Chukka Srinivasa, B. Gangwar, N. Subash, Ashfaq Ahmad, Lareef Zubair, and S. P. Nissanka. (2015). Integrated Assessments of the Impacts of Climate Change on Agriculture: An Overview of AgMIP Regional Research in South Asia. In Society of Agronomy, Crop science society of America and Soil society of America (18) Imperial College Press.
Agalawatte, P. “Climate projections for Sri Lanka based on CMIP5 GCMs”. At the Climate Impact of Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Zubair, L. “Use of climate information for water and environmental management in the Mahaweli River Basin”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Vishwanathan, J. “Weather Monitoring”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Kamiss, A. “Analyzing Recent Disaster histories for Sri Lanka”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Gunaratne, C. “Reporting on Water Resources in Sri Lanka”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Ratnayake, U. “Water Scarcity Assessments for Maldives” At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Agalawatte, P. “Climate Monitoring and Predictions for Maldives”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Sandamali, I. “Analysis of Climate and Dengue for the Maldives”. At the Climate and Impact Analysis in Sri Lanka (FECT Review Meeting) FECT on 7th September 2015 at Digana Resort, Digana Village, Rajawella.
Agalawatte, P. “The Monthly Climate Advisory from FECT/MMS/IRI: Monitoring Weather and Climate for Maldives” at the workshop on “Climate and Water Security in Maldives” organized by the Maldives National University and the Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology, at the Maldives National University on 13th September 2015.
Zubair, L. “Climate Science for the Maldives in Relation to Water Scarcity” at the workshop on “Climate and Water Security in Maldives” organized by the Maldives National University and the Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology, at the Maldives National University on 13th September 2015.