Sunday, 29 June 2014

NEWSLETTER #12 - SOCIETY OF AFRICAN EARTH SCIENTISTS









Volume 3, Issue No. 1 , January/March 2014





CONTENTS

  • Chair's Foreword
  • Promoting Solar and Other Renewables in Africa
  • Report on Day Of earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East - SAES Climate Science Activity
  • Earth Science Events


Foreword by the Chair of Society of African Earth Scientists, Dr  Chukwunyere Kamalu

Welcome to the twelfth issue of the newsletter of the Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES), which will now be issued quarterly.
   In the current issue I report on my visit to the European Energy Centre at Edinburgh Napier University in the light of the promotion of solar and other renewable energies in Africa and also the recent activity carried out by SAES for Day of Earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East, which is annually organised by Association of African Women in the Geosciences.

Promoting solar and other renewables in Africa1

   In March I attended two courses at the European Energy Centre, Edinburgh Napier University (wind power and solar photovoltaics) where I met a number of African scientists and engineers who were fellow participants. In the intervening breaks we had numerous discussions about African renewable energy. I made some inspiring connections. In the wind power course I met a member of the Congolese opposition party, who already are devising strategies for renewables for when (if) they get into power.
   I also had the privilege of meeting, Suleiman Babamanu, a young research scientist from NASENI (Nigerian Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure) who is working at the newly established Karshi solar panel manufacturing plant in Abuja, Nigeria. I was encouraged to hear his plans for promoting the uptake of solar in Nigeria. 
   Many in the field would agree  that the barrier currently existing against the great uptake of solar, is the notion that solar is so exorbitantly expensive as to be inaccessible. But this is far from the truth, as the cost of solar is falling daily, especially in comparison to fossil fuels which are rising in price. 
   Current wisdom would dictate, that the greatest effort should be put into educating the younger generation about solar and renewables, as the young are most likely to exploit the future opportunities that lie in this energy. I asked Suleiman to update me on his future efforts in regard to promoting this technology among the young, which may include solar energy workshops delivered to local secondary school pupils in Abuja,  in conjunction with schools trips to the Karshi solar panel manufacturing plant.  
   In the future eventually Africans will need to take control of the entire solar panel  production process. At present the silicon solar cells that are assembled to manufacture each panel at the Karshi Plant in Abuja,  are imported from China. For the moment this part of the process is too expensive for most African countries to afford as the making of silicon solar cells (essentially from melting sand to form crystalline solar cells at very high temperatures) is very energy intensive and therefore prohibitively expensive; so it is probably cheaper at present to be importing silicon cells from China. With a solar panel manufacturing plant Nigeria can be poised for a solar energy revolution, for which I believe  plans like those of Mr Babamanu at the Karshi plant, to sow the seed of renewable energy appreciation in the minds of the youth, are absolutely of key importance4.


A Climate Science Activity Hosted by the Society of African earth Scientists on 19th-21st March 2014 as Part of Day of earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East

 On 19th-21st March 2014 ,the Society of African Earth Scientists (SAES) participated  in the Association of African Women in the Geosciences-led, “Day of Earth Sciences in Africa and the Middle East”.
   The Society, as a partner in the event, hosted a climate science  activity involving the measurement of the size distribution  of local raindrops using the standard flour pellet method2,3.  The project was aimed at African and African diaspora schools. London storm raindrop samples were collected on behalf of the Caraf Centre Supplementary School in Camden, London and analysed. The poster below displays results of the analysis:-




Figure 1 SAES Raindrop Size & Size distribution test results  - DESAMES 2014
  

The activity led to the programming of further work, with a workshop planned at the Caraf Centre in late June to demonstrate the measurement of raindrop sizes using the flour pellet test. The workshop to be delivered in June, for primary age pupils of Caraf, will focus on why raindrops are not of uniform size (4A)  and other basic facts.




Figure 2 Climate Change Workshop notice -  Caraf Centre, June 2014



The Caraf workshop is the start of the “Rainscience Project”, an SAES climate science  project involving African and African diaspora schools using the simple flour pellet test method as an engaging way to impart and encourage the development of practical science investigation skills.


Affiliation and Association with other organisations

SAES is affiliated to the African Association of Women in the Geosciences, Solar Sister, and is an active supporter of the African led counter land grab initiatives, Stop Africa Land Grab and Stop Land Grabbing.

Earth Science Events

19,20, 21  March 2014
Association of African Women in the Geosciences - Day for Earth Sciences in Africa and Middle East  "Geoeducation, geoheritage and Peace building in Africa and Middle East"
Venue: International
The African Association of Women in Geosciences and the African Geoparks Network are proclaiming the 20th March as a “Day for Earth Sciences in Africa and the Middle East”
to increase the awareness about the role that earth scientists could play to help to build a peaceful, healthier and wealthier continent. This day was first celebrated in 2013. In 2014, the day will be celebarated under the title "Geoeducation, Geoheritage and Peace Building in Africa and Middle East".

14-16 August 2014
3rd Young Earth Scientists Congress, 25th Colloquium on African Geology
“Earth Sciences for Improving Livelihood in Africa”
Venue: Mwalimu Julius Nyerere  Convention Centre, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
“CAG in Brief: The Colloquium of African Geology (CAG) is a major biennial meeting organized under the auspices of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf). Since the first Colloquium in 1965, the Colloquia have been hosted by several European and African countries. The African countries that had a chance to organize this event were Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia, South Africa and Ethiopia. Based on the decision of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) General Assembly held on 14th January 2013 at the Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (during the 24th Colloquium), the organization of the next Colloquium of African Geology (CAG25) as well as the 15th Conference of the Geological Society of Africa was assigned to Brazil. However, because of administrative problems in organizing the 25th CAG along with the Brazilian Geological Society of Brazil Conference in September 2014, the GSAf Council members decided to move the CAG25 to another country. Based on the discussion between Prof. Aberra Mogessie (President of the Geological Society of Africa) and Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, Minister of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals of the United Republic of Tanzania, in Graz Austria, in August 2013 it was decided to organize the CAG25 back to back with the 3rd YES Congress in Tanzania. This decision was approved by the GSAf Council members. The CAG25 is an independent meeting which will be organized by the Tanzania Geological Society (TGS) under the auspices of the GSAf.”

15-19 September 2014
41st Congress of International Association of Hydrogeologits: Challenges and Strategies

Venue: Marrakech, Morocco.

3-9 November 2014
The African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG)
Organize its seventh conference
under the title
"Earth Sciences and Climate Change: Challenges to Development in Africa"
Windhoek, Namibia, November 03-09, 2014
PREAMBLE
AAWG supports the development of Earth Scientists in Africa by providing opportunities for networking and applying science for the sustainable development challenges the continent is facing. Opportunities for earth scientists are great, extending from traditional mineral extraction to environmental management such as climate change adaptation, prevention of natural hazards, water scarcity, and ensuring access to quality earth science training. To assist African governments to realize opportunities, AAWG activities are developed through a participatory approach. International conferences have been organized to address various issues that affect the African continent, to which Earth Scientists can make a contribution. The 7th AAWG conference is being organized, taking into consideration the current challenges the continent is facing in view of the changing climatic conditions, which is threatening sustainable development agenda in Africa.
CONFERENCE SUB-THEMES
Women and climate change
Earth Science: History
Earth and its Dynamics
Earth and Life
Pedology and Pedogenesis
Global Warming and Climate Change
Earth and Ecology
Medical Geology
Earth Science and Hydrology
Applications of Earth Sciences
Petrology
Earth and Environmental Science
Archaeology and paleontology
Geoheritage, Geotourism and climate change
Earth Sciences and local communities


References and Selected Reading

1. From March 2014 SAES FB posting
2. Bentley, W.A., 1904, Studies of raindrops and raindrop phenomena, Monthly Weather Review, 32: 450-456. 
3. Salako, F.K., 2003, Susceptibility of coarse textured soils to soil erosion by water in the tropics, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.
4A. "Why raindrops come in many sizes", http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8155883.stm
4. The Karshi solar panel plant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZUu7yzkasc
5. Jordan, et al (eds), Land & Power:  Sustainable agriculture and African Americans - A collection of essays from the 2007 Black environmental thought conference. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), 2007.
6. Gupta, S.K., Modern Hydrology and Sustainable Water Development, Wiley-Blackwell, West Sussex, 2011.
7. A link on “Groundwater and Rural Water Supply in Africa”: http://www.iah.org/downloads/occpub/IAH_ruralwater.pdf
8. Link to Journal of African Earth Sciences: http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-african-earth-sciences/



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