Jacinta Edebeli '11

UMass Faculty-led Research - Amherst, MA

Major: Environmental Studies

My summer research was at UMass Amherst with Dr Casey Brown, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering department, UMass and Dr Yonas Chile, Post Doctorial student, Civil and Environmental Engineering department UMass Amherst. This research involved using GCM (Global Circulation Model) predictions or estimations of future climate – precipitation and temperature in the Niger Basin in West Africa to estimate future stream flow in the basin. The information obtained from my part of the research would be used to inform a climate risk assessment study on hydrological infrastructural development in the basin.

The Niger River basin cuts across nine countries in West Africa and is home to about 200 million people most of which depend on the river for their livelihood. World Bank is looking into hydrological infrastructural development such as dams for irrigation and hydropower in the basin. These structures would only be functional with sufficient amount of water in the basin. The research therefore involved obtaining data both historical – 20th Century – climate observed and GCM predicted data future, 21st Century GCM predicted climate data. These data were downscaled and/or bias corrected using observed historical data and applied to statistical models to estimate future stream flow and runoff in the basin as predicted by the GCM models. These stream flow estimates were then applied to the risk assessment study. It involved a lot computer work, mostly statistical in nature.