Environmental Education in Climate
Change and Crop Water Use for Farmers in the Hot Humid Tropics of
Nicaragua, Using Agroclimatograms
The discussion regarding climate change tends to be quite abstract and
its visualization is not intuitive to common people. This is a problem
already addressed by Walter & Lieth in 1960, when they published a
world atlas of climatograms compiled at a standard layout. In 1992
Füssel enhanced these to agroclimatograms by including climatic parameters,
which are very important to agroforestry in the tropics, specifically with reference to
the potential of evapotranspiration and resulting water budget.
Appropriate colouring of these agroclimatograms (shades of blue for water,
shades of red for heat, see: www.climatetool.es)
and having on hand a comparison of climatological similarities and
changes is extremely convenient: They are relatively easy to produce
using standard data and are flexible as concerns interpretation,
offering an inspiring and rather dynamic approach to the appraisal of
climatic conditions and pertinent changes.
URACCAN University is creating a chair on climatology / environmental
education at its 4 branches in the hot humid tropics of Nicaragua. The
aforementioned agroclimatograms will be used to sensitize farmers to
climate change and crop water use, thus assisting them in the adoption
of appropriate means of mitigation on their farms: (1) cocoa and coffee
crops in agroforestry systems compared to (2) tubers, (3) cattle
(extensive free ranging vs. intensive cut and carry) and finally (4)
Further, possible climatic changes in the region will be analysed by
the same tool in campaigns for the general public, using historical
climatological data dating back over a century and compiling a
web-based world atlas of agroclimatograms. A nearby region, of humid
climate in the past but turned sub-humid as a result of local
deforestation, is used as an illustrative example.
Full article scheduled for End of May 2010 and to be published at the International Virtual Conference "Climate Change and the Sustainable Management of Water Resources" in November 2010.