• KiLi Sub Project 1:
  Ecological climatology and remote sensing

From 03/2010 to 07/2016

Project leader:  Thomas Nauß, Tim Appelhans
PhD Student:  Ephraim A. Mwangomo, Florian Detsch, Insa Otte
Other participating individuals:  Jörg Bendix, Leendert Adriaan Sampurno Bruijnzeel, Mark Mulligan, Bernhard Seeger

Climate characteristics and dynamics in the Kilimanjaro region will mainly be determined by (i) global climate and (ii) local land-cover change. Both processes affect the local-scale climate which in turn is a key parameter for ecosystem processes and biodiversity. Depending on the sign and magnitude, changes in the local hydrological cycle will likely have the most serious or beneficial consequences for the region. Moreover, the hydrological cycle is linked to the carbon cycle through the ecosystem water use efficiency.

With respect to the importance of the atmospheric water budget for the Kilimanjaro ecosystem and the mutual potential feedbacks between climate and ecosystem change, this project focuses on the remote sensing supported analysis of the state and change of ecoclimatological dynamics as a function of ecosystem disturbances along the elevation gradient from the savannah to the Helichrysum zone. The main objectives encompass (i) the measurement and analysis of baseline meteorological information for the characterization of the research plots and the local climate dynamics, (ii) the quantification and analysis of the atmospheric water budget with a special focus on rainfall, fog and evapotranspiration dynamics along the elevation and disturbance gradients and (iii) the remote sensing based prediction of ecosystem properties and biodiversity patterns using high resolution optical satellite data and aerial LIDAR information.