Center of Spatial Information Science

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - Nigeria


The Network

Climate change research network is anchored by the Centre for Spatial Information Sciences of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria. A multidisciplinary network comprising of various stakeholders in Climate Change, from the areas of Urban Planning, Health, Agriculture and Economy. This network draws from the existing institutions in the university such as the biggest agricultural research complex in West Africa consisting of the Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR); the National Animal Production and Research Institute (NAPRI) and the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services (NAERLS); College of Health Sciences and the Departments of Archeology, Geography and that of Urban and Regional Planning which is the oldest established Planning School in Nigeria.

  • Spatial dynamics of urban growth in Nigeria (1960-2014).
  • Social networks, change processes and social outcomes of urbanisation in Nigeria.
  • Livelihood, enterprise and entrepreneurship in informal settlements.
  • Governing informal urbanisation.
  • Climate change.

The Research Drive

Climate change as a reality manifests in a number of ways as human efforts in documentation of earth’s systems improve. The global south (Africa Inclusive) is characterized by higher vulnerability and poor adaptation to climate change. In addition to being understudied, the few existing studies regarding Africa’s vulnerability, poor adaptation and manifestation of climate change impacts have been largely conducted remotely from outside the region. This undermines global recognition. The lifestyles that accelerate climate change within the continent and relationships to impact are poorly reported. Although, Africa is popularly recognized as a receiver of climate change impacts initiated elsewhere, local accelerators of climate change and its impacts also need to be well understood. This can relate to the continent’s per capita contributions as it connects to such issues as energy use for example.

The peculiar nature of Africa’s development and urbanization requires locally relevant methodologies for climate change studies such as establishing impact patterns and vulnerability levels, as well as observing eco-system changes. This is at present hampered by the paucity of reliable databases. The available local research findings are also not in a form that is easily accessible to public and policy makers.

Focus Areas in Responding to the Research Drive

In response to the foregoing, the following research initiatives are being implemented by the network:

  • Using the present Business as Usual (BaU) scenarios to reconstruct the past, particularly in establishing the observable changes in eco system. This research cluster tries to answer the question of how can the Present BaU be used to reconstruct the past trend in ecosystem change? Predicting future climatic conditions are usually trend based. The known floodable areas of the Sokoto Rima River Basin for instance are at present becoming dry and increasingly built up. There is no guarantee that the pattern will continue laterally. This means that the cycle may return with more serious impacts. The more reliably we are able to reconstruct the past, the easier it would be to forecast the future on this. The leading stakeholders in this cluster are the Urban and Regional Planning Department, Geography and Archeology.
  • Understanding the consequences of Climate Change from the perspectives of:
    • Agriculture: This cluster tries to establish the pattern of Agricultural productivity (crop production and animal husbandry) as it responds to climate change. The agricultural productivity challenges are already evident but lacks coordinated studies. The leading stakeholders in this cluster are the agricultural research complexes geography.
    • Health: This cluster aims to determine how climate change impacts on urban health. The focus is on the prevalence of diseases during unusual patterns of temperature extremes, and as a response to sanitation challenges resulting from water scarcity. The leading stakeholders here are drawn from public health in the college of health sciences.
    • Livelihood and Security: the focus here is on climate change, livelihood patterns and social unrest. This includes the new migratory patterns of herders in West Africa, farmers and herdsmen clashes as well as changes in the livelihood patterns of some regions. This cluster is driven by agronomists, planners, sociologists and geographers.
  • Understanding the accelerators of Climate Change and its impacts through socio-cultural and economic studies. This cluster focuses on poverty, energy costs and options, which determines the pattern of energy use particularly at household levels. This cluster is driven by Planners, geographers and economists.
  • Improving local capacities and expanding research linkages – increasing the stakeholders’ base and linkages with other institutions. This cluster draws expertise from all stakeholder units.

Uniqueness of CCRN Strategy

The dynamics of climate change, accelerators and impacts are intertwined and crosscutting requiring a comprehensive transdisciplinary approach to their understanding and management. In addition to the compartmentalized nature of existing approaches, the African situation in terms of contributions and impacts of climate change is seldom integrated properly in the global agenda. The comprehensive and transdisciplinary strategy to the understanding of climate change dynamics, accelerators and impacts is not often provided by the conventional approaches to climate change studies, and forms the basic platform upon which the CCRN is based. Another unique feature of the CCRN strategy is to create an open source data platform that allows for benchmarking to assess regional progress.

The Need for Collaboration

Collaboration is therefore needed in the following areas to aid in the earlier listed efforts:

  • Improved data management on climate systems through access to small satellite systems and establishment of open source data platforms.
  • Enhancing the understanding of the complexity of earth systems through regional modelling and simulation of future impacts.
  • Expansion of existing studies to cover other areas of differing socio economic characteristics in terms of establishing impacts and vulnerabilities.

Some Research Outcomes

S/N Research Title Year Research Collaboration
1 Land cover analyses for Zaria, Kaduna and Kano regions. 1980-2015 NIL
2 Pattern of Household Energy use in Samaru and Hayin Dogo of Zaria Urban Area as an accelerator of climate change impacts. 2006 NIL
3 Participatory city planning and a cultural dimension of climate change in Sokoto, North West Nigeria. 2010 - 2015 NIL
4 Urban Health Mapping in Bauchi North East Nigeria. 2002 NIL
5 Spatio - Temporal trends of livelihood pattern in Northern Nigeria. 2005 - 2017 NIL
S/N Research Title Year Research Collaboration
1 Spatio – Temporal analysis of settlements growth pattern in Nigeria (1976 – 2016) – Grant of $100,000 by the National Research Fund of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund to determine settlements forms and patterns as its responds to climate change (2017-2019). 1976 - 2016 National Research Fund - TETFUND
2 Frontiers of Crime and Livelihood study in conjunction with University College London - A grant of GBP230,000 to determine among other things, the relationship between crime patterns and seasonal migration resulting from climate related challenges (2018-2019). 2018-2019 University College London