ACyS project: Investigating predictability of seasonal anomalies for societal benefit.  

This primarily modelling-based project is an investment in continuously developing seasonal climate prediction technology which aims to improve the efficacy of climate forecasting systems in both areas with existing forecasting skill and those where the skill is low. The project has an end-to-end approach looking at both model development, developing downscaling methodology and tailored applications for specific sectoral users. The project leader was Professor Willem Landman at the University of Pretoria.  

Click here for the final report.

ACyS project: Changes in the annual cycle over South Africa and ocean hotspots.  

Southern African climate dynamics and the annual cycle is driven and influenced by a number of factors, at a range of scales. Given that the demonstrable need for improved seasonal scale forecasting is rising, the project goes back to first principles to look at the dynamics of key regional ocean-atmosphere hotspots (Agulhas Current & retroflection, the Seychelles-Chagos thermocline ridge and the Angola– Benguela frontal zone) located around southern Africa, at weather to seasonal time ranges. The aim is to contribute to understanding the role of these oceanographic features in the annual cycle and the models that are used to predict seasonal climate. The project leader was Professor Chris Reason at the University of Cape Town. 

See final report here.

ACyS project: Impacts of changing seasonal cycles & elevated atmospheric CO2 on production & dynamics in managed & natural biological systems.

This project exploited the varying climate regimes across the sub-region in order to examine the complex impact of changing seasonal climate in relation to changing CO2 concentration, on a variety of plants and crops. The lab and field based experimental project examined these dynamics in a variety of natural biomes (fynbos, savanna, thicket), and others along a climate gradient in the country, as well as the responses in several important crop species. The project leader is Professor Brad Ripley at Rhodes University. 

See final report here.

ACyS project: The role of phytoplankton in mediating global climate through stratus cloud albedo in the coupled ocean -atmosphere of the Benguela System.

The Benguela current system on the west coast is a highly productive upwelling system, and plays a key role in global climate dynamics, particularly due to it’s cumulus cloud deck which affects albedo. This is one of the major outstanding climate model challenges, and the link between ocean processes and atmospheric dynamics is where this project focusses.  The role of seasonally productive phytoplankton, producing the aerosols biochemicals that seed this cloud formation, was examined. The project leader was Dr Sandy Thomalla at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. 

See final report here.

ACyS project: Exploring multi-dimensional landscape attributes through the lens of seasonality.

This project, located in the Greater Cape Floristic Region, sought to explore the interaction of ecological and social dimensions of seasonality in the South African context by considering rainfall seasonality shifts and how this manifests in relation to volumes, periodicity, flows, and extreme events; associated shifts in fire regimes and biodiversity biome level outcomes. In addition, it also explored seasonal use and shifts in ecosystem services and human livelihood in response to change. The project was led by Professor Res Altwegg at the University of Cape Town. 

See final report here.

ACyS project: Human well-being & environmental degradation: the impact of changes in seasonality.

Rural savanna communities, are often heavily reliant directly on communal natural resources or they have a more cash-dominated livelihood strategy, both of which are subject to highly seasonal provision of ecosystem goods and services. This project explored the effect of seasonality and changes in seasonality on the relationship between well-being and resource degradation in the rural Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, a coupled social-ecological system with a variety of land uses, including private and state-owned protected areas. The project was lead by Professor Wayne Twine at the University of the Witwatersrand. 

See final report here.