This research article examines the limitation of crude instrumentation and the role of climate change in the shrinkage of the Lake Chad. In an attempt to encourage the adoption of space technology, the paper went further to highlight how nations around the world are leveraging on space technology to foster climate mitigation and adaptation policies. For Africa to take her place in the comity of nations, she needs to leverage upon the use of space science to address climate change locally and globally.
Climate change is one of the most complex issues facing us today. It involves many dimensions and it is a global problem, felt on local scales that will be around for decades and centuries to come.-(NASA-Global climate change).
Climate mitigation involves reducing the flow of heat trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere , either by reducing sources of these gases or enhancing the sinks that accumulate and store these gases with a goal to avoid significant human interference with the climate system and stabilize greenhouse gas levels in a time frame sufficient to allow the ecosystem to adapt naturally to climatic change, ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner while adaptation involves adjusting to actual or expected future climate with a goal to reduce our vulnerability to the harmful effects of climate change.- (2014 report on mitigation of climate change from the United Nations inter-governmental panel on climate change, page 4)
In recent years, there have been alarming reports of contraction and total disappearance of many freshwaters and wetlands in the world. Although previous studies on the lake-employed instrumentation of direct site survey including interviews, questionnaires and photographs, these methods are back breaking, time depleting and cost ineffective making it difficult to get information about inaccessible and remote areas around the lake (Olapeju et al., 2017). The lake expanse extends to eight African nations involving Cameroun, Chad, Niger, Algeria, Central African Republic , Libya , Sudan , and Nigeria (Olapeju et al., 2017) but has shrunk by 90%, going from 25000km in 1963 to less than 1500km in 2001 (FAO, 2009). The shrinkage is not principally of local concern, but also a matter of regional and global attention as it has paralysed livelihoods, caused food shortage, disease outbreak, high penury rates, violence outbreaks, conflicts, terror attacks, social insecurity and migration (Olapeju et al., 2017).
Climate mitigation through space
According to the Canadian Space Agency, space technology has helped in the creation of data sets used to tackle climate change. Using satellites, which are valuable tools for studying various aspects of the earth and atmosphere, Canada’s SCISAT measures over 60 trace gases that influence the distribution of the Oxone in the stratosphere.
NASA has 21 Earth observing spacecraft in orbit today and it has been studying Earth’s climate for the past three decades. (William et al., 2009) Scientist across the globe use these data to refine their understanding of the Earths changing atmosphere and makes predictions about future changes.
Furthermore, spinoff technologies from (space research , GPS to semi-conductor, solar cells) are already helping to reduce emissions; the efficiency gains of GPS-guided navigations shrink fuel expenditures on sea, land, and air by between 15 and 21%- a greater reduction than better engines or fuels have so far provided (Greg, 2019)
Satellite technology has helped Australia to fight fires like never before, with the potential to prevent disasters, save lives through early bush fire detection, fire spread modelling, thermal imaging, moisture content monitoring, and livestreaming of satellite images.-(Markos, 2018)
In 2016 for instance, roughly a hundred civil remote sensing satellites were monitoring earth from space to provide information about desertification. The vast amount of local to global information produced by remote sensing enabled scientists to analyse the effects of desertification and measure the stabilization or regression trends over time. (UNCCD, 2019)
Adaptation policies through space
Dams play an essential role in many parts of the world but the average dam exerts a massive load on the ground underneath it. Satellite monitoring can measure deformation in time to prevent failure-(Kate, 2017) in regions where dams have been built to supplement natural sources of water.
Due to climate change in Africa, many who lost their legitimate work have resorted to kidnapping, terrorism and banditry for financial gain. With technology, the US Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6 were able to conduct a hostage rescue operation in Northern Nigeria to recover an American citizen held hostage by a group of armed men. Adopting the use of space technology Can help African countries manage some of the negative effects of climate change, curb the activities of terrorist and kidnappers who have made the wild safe havens for perpetuating evil.
With livelihood paralysed, food shortage prevalence and high penury rate caused by the shrinkage of Lake Chad, many in an attempt to adapt to these policies have begun to embark on risky migration trips through the Sahara desert through the Mediterranean sea. Unfortunately, more than half who embark on these trips do not get to their destination. One in 36 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea in 2017, and since 2014 16,850 migrants have died crossing-(The migrant project). In an attempt to monitor, rescue distressed migrants and curb this menace, Elisabeth Wittmann, a computer scientist has teamed up with Space-Eye to develop an AI technology that allows computers to detect migrant boats in satellite images.
Climate change has caused devastating effects to the Sahel region and Africa. The failure to use space technology in monitoring and addressing issues regarding the Lake Chad contributed greatly to its shrinkage. Replacing the use of crude technology for climate mitigation and adaptation policies with space technology is the way forward to address the numerous problems facing humanity in this digital era.
Remote sensing appraisal of Lake Chad shrinkage connotes severe impacts on green economics and socio-economics of the catchment area by Olapeju Y. Onamuti, Emmanuel C. Okogbue and Israel R. Orimoloye Https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.171120