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UNH researchers find African farmers need better climate change data to improve farming practices
Date:3/14/2012

any survey respondents reported that conditions are drier and rainfall timing is becoming less predictable.

"Perceptions of local farmers are important because farmers often manage land according to their perceptions and beliefs. In these communities, meteorological information from the scientific community is rarely available, and farmers rely on their own observations and subjective interpretations," Hartter said.

However, an analysis of daily rainfall data for the period 1981 to 2010 indicated that total rainfall both within and across seasons has not changed significantly, although the timing and transitions of seasons has been highly variable. Results of rainfall data analysis also indicated significant changes in the intra-seasonal rainfall distribution, including longer dry periods within rainy seasons, which may contribute to the perceived decrease in rainfall and can compromise food security.

Local variation in rainfall is not captured by large-scale measurements used in climate research. However, it is the local information that is used to make planting and harvesting decisions, and therefore has the highest impact on food security.

"Our results highlight the need for fine-scale climate information to assist agro-ecological communities in developing effective adaptive management," Hartter said. "If we can provide farmers with more relevant and physically accurate information, it could lead to more sustainable land use management practices."


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Contact: Lori Wright
lori.wright@unh.edu
603-862-0574
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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