Research

 

   Extreme weather is manifested as abnormal weather, characterized by localized abrupt variations, or long-term chronic weather hazards. In the two Themes introduced above, we will focus on the scientific understanding of these phenomena and practical applications to society.

 

Theme 1: Science-Engineering Interdisciplinary Research on the Monitoring and Prediction of Extreme Weather, Water Cycle and Disaster Contingency


   Employing in-situ (ground-based) and satellite measurements, as well as numerical models, we will observe detailed behavior of extreme weather, and study scientifically the underlying physical mechanisms. In parallel, we will study technical development of water cycle variations and disaster contingency in riparian and coastal zones and mountainous areas, which are severely affected by the extreme weather. Integration of scientific and technical achievements will produce an effective monitoring and prediction system for extreme weather and water conditions, and help establish disaster reduction and management strategies. The results are applied not only within Japan, but also to a variety of regions in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

 

   To achieve the above objective we will carry out the following research activities.

 

a. Observations to monitor, detect and verify meteorological parameters of climatic change:

   We operate intensive research sites for extreme weather in Japan and in Asia-Africa, which are also utilized as education facilities for junior researchers and students. We will design and develop an integrated observation system consisting of advanced monitoring techniques, represented by an atmospheric radar system. Satellite measurements from a geostationary satellite, ISS (international space station) and earth observation satellites will be used to study meso-scale meteorological phenomena and atmospheric constituents.

 

b. Numerical modeling of meteorological and hydrological processes:

   We have been developing high-resolution numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in close collaboration with the Japan Meteorological Agency and other universities/research institutes. NWP models are used to clarify the detailed behavior of meso-scale phenomena, such as a localized severe rain, through “down-scaling” experiments. We also investigate the effectiveness of improvement of prediction accuracy by data assimilation of ground-based and satellite observations. The accurate predictions will be used for disaster contingency planning. In order to establish an extensive human network among countries in Asia and Africa, we will further enhance our current interaction with other scientists and students, as well as improve our exchange of intellectual knowledge.

 

c. Hazard estimation/prediction and disaster reduction/management:

   A suite of hazard evaluation modules, which treats strong wind, heavy rain, landslide, flood, storm surge and high wave, drought, are to be computer coded and applied to various countries in Asia Pacific region, using the observed data and numerical prediction. Promising hazard predictions will be open to the public through Internet sites after careful evaluation.

 

Theme 2: Integrated Social-Natural Sciences Research Towards the Creation of Resilient Society Adaptable to Global Environmental Change


   Increase and magnification of extreme weather phenomena due to global warming is affecting human life, society and culture that are traditionally linked with rather stable climate and weather conditions of limited variability in the past. Social responses to extreme weather variability are to be studied in terms of influences on livelihoods mainly in a primary industry, quitting jobs and moving from rural to urban areas, and changes of traditional family systems and long-standing customs (common practice). Field-based studies in Asia-Oceania and Africa regions are conducted on the following two sub-themes, which will be integrated with environmental science for useful adaptation strategies against current and future global environment changes, including global warming and social change.

 

d. Environmental science for adaptation strategies against extreme weather:

   In this sub-theme, the major research fields are located in the Asia-Oceania region, especially, India, Southeast Asia and Fiji. These regions already suffer from abnormal weather phenomena and also from gradual but persistent environmental changes, including sea level rise. Both engineering and social remedies are to be studied, depending on the individual social environments in collaboration with local counterparts.

 

e. Environmental science for adaptation strategies against long-term chronic weather hazards in Africa:

   In African countries human life is threatened by economic crisis, environmental problems, serious poverty, and regional conflicts. Especially in semi-arid tropics of inner Africa, social sustainability becomes difficult due to rapid population growth, chronic meteorological hazards, such as abnormal rainfalls and severe droughts. The main research topics in this sub-theme include: disorder of livelihoods under chronic meteorological hazards; conflicting and co-existing conditions in terms of utilization of resources, conservation of ecological environments, and mutual aid; changes of traditional culture and multi-ethnic relationships due to population growth and augmentation of human activities; degrading land resources and resilience of the regional societies.

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