In what ways has Future Climate for Africa improved the understanding of climate change?

Since 2015, Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) has brought together over 200 researchers from 14 different countries to work on enhancing scientific knowledge and prediction of African climate and piloting methods to ensure impact on specific development problems.

A new micro-site on FCFA’s impact and relevance aims to highlight and signpost the impact of FCFA through three key pillars.

    • Pillar 1 focuses on how FCFA has delivered a step change in climate science through improved understanding of what drives Africa’s climate and how it will change;
    • Pillar 2 outlines FCFA’s novel approaches to research and engagement with government decision-makers, communities and researchers; and
    • Pillar 3 highlights how this climate information was used to address real-world problems and inform development plans.



A step change in climate science


FCFA has made significant progress in improving understanding and modelling of Africa’s climate and applying this to real-world problems. The micro-site details FCFA’s key climate science advances in:

    • Delivering new model developments,
    • Understanding past and future climate extremes,
    • Understanding the processes that influence Africa’s climate,
    • Narrowing global model uncertainty over Africa, and
    • Predicting the impacts of climate change in Africa.


While there are large gaps in our understanding of Africa’s climate and how it will change, FCFA has made significant progress in understanding key climate processes and future projections across the continent. As a result of FCFA’s research, approximately 185 peer-reviewed articles, working papers and policy briefs have been published on issues of climate science and its application in Africa.



Novel approaches to research and engagement


FCFA used a range of novel approaches to engage with a diverse set of stakeholders (researchers, decision-makers, communities) to collectively identify useful and usable climate information and adaptation options, and communicate complex climate change risks and uncertainties. 34 learning and engagement events have taken place and 72 climate-related tools have been developed to support this uptake of climate information.

The micro-site details FCFA’s range of approaches including:

    • Co-producing climate knowledge and communicating climate risks and uncertainty,
    • Fostering collective learning spaces,
    • Delivering climate-related tools, and
    • Supporting Early Career Researchers (ECRs) to produce relevant and usable climate information.



Influencing real-world problems


FCFA set out to ensure that decision-makers are able to incorporate relevant climate information when making decisions in the medium- to long-term (5-40 year) resulting in climate-resilient policies, plans and investments. Although impacts for resilience are anticipated to be seen in the long term, the programme has successfully influenced many current decision-making systems, processes and behaviours.

The micro-site details how FCFA’s climate information was used to address real-world problems through; influencing policies, plans and investments, creating new partnerships and collaborations, and building capacity and understanding to influence change. FCFA engaged and partnered with 185 institutions and influenced 17 policies, plans and investments. FCFA influenced the following changes to varying degrees, noting that not all changes can fully be attributable to the programme alone.

Explore the FCFA impact site to find out more.

This article was first published on the Future Climate for Africa website.