Deutsch Intern
Earth Observation Research Cluster


  • Subject: Climate change, climate modeling, land use
  • Study site: West Africa
  • Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

LANDSURF develops the West African Earth System Model (WESM) for high-resolution longer-term transient climate change projections. The novel aspect of this regional climate model approach is the consideration of dynamic interactions between atmosphere and land-surface processes, including man-made land cover changes and land degradation, as well as between atmosphere and ocean. Additionally, LANDSURF will give special attention to the end-users’ needs and will co-design the regional climate model approach taking these into consideration. Previous research has revealed the outstanding role of land cover characteristics and oceanic boundary conditions for climate variations and climate prediction in sub-Saharan West Africa. Combining atmosphere-ocean coupling with an interactive vegetation model within the same high-resolution regional modeling framework is unprecedented. It is expected that a new generation of more realistic climate change projections will be provided that serve as a scientific reference for more adequate adaptation measures across West African countries, for example included as part of the national climate instruments, such as the National Determined Contributions (NDCs), the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), or other more localized instruments.

The data and knowledge gained will be made available for and implemented in decision processes by African end-users by means of a three-stage approach. We aim at increasing the use of science based-results by: (1) data, tables and graphics of various practice-oriented indicators of climate change will be made accessible via an interactive, user-friendly and multilingual web portal for public use. (2) The EasyREMO approach will be used to construct a resource-optimized version of the WESM with easy-to-use interface to be run on a customary individual PC, e.g. for sensitivity studies and shorter-term scenario runs. (3) The full source code of the WESM will be implemented on the new high performance computing facility of WASCAL in Ouagadougou for scientific use, further model development and longer-term scenario runs, e.g. in the framework of future national research initiatives in Africa. All three stages will be organized and co-designed in close cooperation with our African cooperation partners and accompanied by a series of participatory workshops and, when needed, capacity building measures tailored to various end-user groups.

As Remote Sensing partner of LANDSURF we will develop a framework to analyze land cover and land use changes on a high temporal resolution to improve the respective input to the WESM.

LANDSURF runtime is from 01.06.2021 to 31.05.2024, it is coordinated by the Chair of Physical Geography (Prof. Dr. Heiko Paeth) in the Institute for Geography and Geology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the German Center for Aerospace e.V. (DLR) under the grant number 01LG2080A.