American scientists on aerosol study at Walvis

11 Sep 2016 15:30pm
WALVIS BAY, 11 SEP (NAMPA) - A scientific study to understand the role of biomass burning emissions and low-level clouds in changing the climate in southern Africa started along the coast of Walvis Bay.
Two scientific research aircraft belonging to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in the United States of America (USA) started with the one-month study last week.
The research topic is ObseRvations of Aerosols above Clouds and their intEractionS (ORACLES).
Biomass refers to organic matter such as wood which is burned and used as a fuel.
Aerosol are extremely-fine liquid droplets or solid particles that remain suspended in air.
Students from the Namibia University of Science and Technology, University of Namibia and others from South Africa are part of the project.
Explaining the data collection process to the media here on Friday, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois in the USA, Gregory McFarquhar said this is a very important project to understand climate change in Africa and globally.
“The conclusions are expected in four years from now. For now we cannot conclude on anything regarding situations such as lack of rain in Africa,” said the professor.
Principal investigator of Nasa Jens Redemann told media on Friday that Walvis Bay was chosen as the south-eastern Atlantic provides a natural laboratory to study climate science.
Redemann added that the Walvis Bay International Airport is well equipped for the research equipment such as aircraft and other equipment they are using.
“The data will be used to predict precipitation and the climate change effect such as drought in Africa and globally,” he said.
Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi, who attended the official launch of the event at the airport on Friday, said it is necessary for Namibia to be part of the study as the country is also affected by climate change.
The data has long-term benefits for Namibia to understand near-coast ocean ecosystem productivity, surface characteristics of hyper-arid regions and near-coast fog distribution, among other benefits.
“It also gives our students a chance to learn from the best, so that tomorrow they can conduct their own research when they graduate,” Kapofi told Nampa in an exclusive interview.
With regard to security, he said the activities are closely watched to make sure they are conducted safely and with good intention.
The second and third phases of this project are expected in 2017 and 2018.