Vincent Otieno

Importance of Cyber Infrastructure development in Africa to Scientific Research

Vincent is a research assistant at the University of Connecticut Climate Lab. I have been working on various projects including high resolution climate modeling, causes of hydro-climate variability and land use/cover changes impacts on climate variables. Through these projects I have developed strong interest on causes of climate variability, especially through land surface processes. I am currently working with GIS and remote sensing tools to study land use/cover changes and integrate the results for idealized regional climate simulations, to understand the observed climate changes and variability.

Specific research Interests include:

  • Statistical and dynamical downscaling of climate scenarios for regional impacts,
    vulnerability and adaptation assessments.
  • Physical and dynamical mechanisms associated with the variability and change of regional hydro-climates
  • Land surface processes and effects of vegetation – atmosphere interactions on hydroclimate processes
  • Satellite Remote sensing and data assimilation within weather and climate models

My work is aimed at improving seasonal and intraseasonal rainfall predictability to promote sustainable agriculture and adaptation mechanism over the Greater Horn of Africa region.

From my research work I use variety of tools that are mainly software’s such as GIS software, and programming tools. While most of these softwares are freely available in nearly all institutions in developed countries, scientist in developing countries, have to find ways of acquiring and maintaining these tools.

Secondly my research work has intensive data requirements that include availability, acquisition and storage device requirement. Most of climate data are stored in hard drive formats or in server forms. Data storage in server forms requires stable and consistent internet support. Further, downloading data through the internet require large internet bandwidths that are not available in most African institutions.

Also, availability of data is mainly determined by most African institution policies and to a larger extent data formats. Modernization of the data forms from the current formats such as catalogues and excel formats to present day advanced user friendly formats such as unidata formats e.g NetCDF would aid in solving part of the data unavailability problems.

However this is a challenge that requires trained personnel in collaboration with developed institutions/developed country. In this view funding is required for a multidisplinary approach that involves stake holder institutions to modernize data, build network infrastructure, capacity building and create exchange programs between developed nations and developing countries for sustainability of the program.