Jan 9, 2018

Indicators and scalability of successful land restoration initiatives at the watershed scale

The global landscape forum (GLF) is organized a platform for scientists and organization  to discuss about our land across various discipline. It is for hydrologist, for geomorphologist, for soil scientists, for biologist, for endogenous people, for everyone. While various forums and platforms are available out there, GLF is aimed to integrate disciplines related to land resources (water, soil, biodiversity, stakeholders etc). I had a chance to participate during this year GLF (GLF 2017), in Bonn.   WLE, CIAT and IWMI organized one session "Indicators and scalability of successful land restoration initiatives at the watershed scale". The following is verbatim from GLF website about our session.

"Healthy ecosystems are the backbone of healthy food systems and that fact must sit at the heart of agricultural development. Focusing in on the role of water – specifically watershed and river basin health – the session will call on real-world examples of land restoration that have incorporated the objective of ecosystem management. By articulating the obstacles and opportunities presented by balancing the interests of farmers, fish, industry, and the broader environment, the session will work to identify more effective and inclusive better watershed management."

And below is recorded video of the session :

I think, the following session can also be highly related to our session.

Oct 6, 2017

AMCOMET Africa Hydromet Forum 2017

We, as CIAT, were invited to attend the Africa Union (AU)'s Hydromet Forum took place from September 12-15, 2017. It was at the headquarters of AU commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The aim of the forum was to modernize the weather, water and climate information services and data in Africa. It was a high level official meeting where all government diplomats and ministries attended, but also various academia, private organizations, innovators participated. 

Hydromet (i.e. hydrological and meteorological) services is a key for improving Africa's resilience to climate change, natural disasters, save live and increase investment. It was a great pleasure to attend the event, and also promising AU in collaboration with world bank seems at the right track in this. Lots of information is available in the World bank website.

First the overview of the conference can be seen from this YouTube:

Some background information about the forum here , here and here.

Oct 2, 2017

Tracking the progress of hydrological understanding

This paper by Sivapalan and Blöschl is accepted in journal of WRR, seems very demarcating the track of hydrology as a subject. I didn't read it yet, but will do soon. I believe, in addition to working on the dots of scientific discovery, which is really essential, connecting these dots and looking forward for providing solution for grand global challenges in hydrology is a key. It is also important that those experts working in the subject for decades provide guidance on the track and direction of researches agenda. As the Big bang Theory's (the TV series, not the real) Sheldon Cooper said it once, "I never said that you were not good at what you do. It's just that what you do is not important." So it is energy and time saving that seasoned scientists direct the early scientists what is worthwhile to spend money and time!!!   Please find the paper here. And one more thing, now we are in the Co-evolution era where "big data" play a key role.

What can research offer for the Government of Ethiopia achieve its land restoration and Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) goals

Some times ago, I have been asked to present what I do as researcher can contribute for the development of Ethiopia, and below is how I described research contributes and guidance for government policy, particularly to land restoration and Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy of Ethiopia. Please click here to open the whole presentation.
What can research offer for the
Government of Ethiopia achieve its land
restoration and Climate Resilient Green
Economy (C...

Sep 26, 2017

Wuletawu Abera: Researcher at CIAT

It has been long to write something here in my blog. In the last two months many things has happened. Among these, I moved from Mekelle University to International center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), one of CGIAR research center. You can see what is the mission and objective of CIAT as institution here

I am hired here as researcher, and some of my works, among many, will be:
  • Socioecological modelling to identify best-fit technologies that promote agricultural productivity and eco-efficient state
  • Design and implement integrated water resources development and management practices to enhance soil moisture and promote small-scale irrigation;
  • Contribute towards understanding interactions and feedbacks of processes at plot-farm-landscape levels (including material flows) and devise approaches for integrated analysis following systems approach;
  • Identify best-bet site- and context-specific soil management options to enhance soil health, improve productivity while reducing agriculture’s impact on ecosystems;
  • Develop tools and suitable indicators to assess landscape ecosystem health and evaluate the eco-efficiency and sustainability of management interventions including tradeoffs and synergies;
  • Supervise PhD and MSc students as well as interns associated with CIAT and partners;
  • Participate in fund raising activities in collaboration with CIAT colleagues and other partners;
  • Establish and enhance partnership across the region and globally to promote CIAT’s activities;
So now onwards I will try to re-start posting issues that I would like to share with you. 

Jun 29, 2017

Estimating water budget of large basin with NewAge-JGrass

This paper has been out there for a year, as discussion paper in HESS. After a long review process, now it is accepted. Most of the issues and discussions are almost similar to the discussion paper. However, discussion and the methodology sections have been improved a lot in the final and accepted paper.  It is open access meaning it can be accessed for any one at this link.

May 26, 2017

Debris flows by Carlo Gregoretti

As a part of Erasmus fellowship exchange program, Carlo Gregoretti (RG) of Padova university is staying with us here at department of  Geography and Environmental Studies, Mekelle University for two weeks. His area of expertise is mainly debris flow and he has been giving training about it for our postgraduate students and staffs. He covered from the fundamentals of debris flow to modelling and simulations, including some practical examples. With his permission I  have shared his slides here.
You can find the slides by clicking the images.

1. Introduction:

2. Debris flow: the phenomenon

3. Capability and reliability of models to reproduce physical processes associated to debris flow:

4. Simplified rainfall-runoff model for headwater Rocky basins:

5. Debris flow: the deposition 
6. Models for routing and deposition of debris flow 

7. Rainfalls triggering debris flow 

May 2, 2017

Geographical and Environmental Research for Development Conference at Mekelle University

We, here at Mekelle university, are hosting national conference on "Integrated Geographical and Environmental Researches for Sustainable Development" from June 1-2, 2017. Any one interested to present/attend can submit their abstract/expression of interest. Please see the call below.

We have received really large number of abstracts from many universities and organisation from all parts of the country. We received more than 100 abstracts. Due to financial limitation we have to select only 25 abstracts. It would have been interesting and large national conference if we could have managed to invite all of them.

Update 2:
The book of abstract presented in the conference can be found here.

Apr 20, 2017


Availability of meteorological, land surface and other related data is always bottleneck for development of research and evidence based policy formulations. Today, I came across with interesting efforts by CGIAR,   to provide climate, agriculture, and food security related data. I think this is an interesting source to fill the data gap we have in applied hydrology. Anyway,  try wondering around this webpage (link). Also, they have downloading service for spatially downscaled GCC data.

Mar 16, 2017

Mapping study area using R

To prepare a study area map in a professional way, or at publication standard, it takes a great deal of time, at least for me. I have been using GIS tools (such as QGIS and Grass GIS, Jgrasstools) to prepare my study area. But, Now I started to change to R. The advantages of using R is that we have more advanced graphical and map package that we can use, and once the R script are developed, it is easier to reproduce other maps for the next time. Here I used various packages to produce decent study area map that can be used for publication. I used many helps from various stackoverflow answers. Here I will shows you how to do this using a particular basin in Afghanistan.

First lets load all the necessary r packages

## Checking rgeos availability: TRUE
## rgeos version: 0.3-19, (SVN revision 524)
##  GEOS runtime version: 3.4.2-CAPI-1.8.2 r3921 
##  Linking to sp version: 1.2-2 
##  Polygon checking: TRUE

Country map

#we can use getData fiunction to access avaliable geographic data 
AF0<-getData("GADM", country="AF", level=0) #  download country level 0 map
## In case if we want to chnag it to data frame using fortify, reshape2 function 
AF0.f <- fortify(AF0, region = "ISO")

The study basin

#Now lets read the basin extracted in other GIS environment using rgdal package 
mybasin<-readOGR(dsn="/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan",  layer="mybsinMask")
## OGR data source with driver: ESRI Shapefile 
## Source: "/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan", layer: "mybsinMask"
## with 1 features
## It has 6 fields
#Lets convert from the projection of the original map to the latlong    
utms <- CRS("+init=epsg:32642")
mybasin2 <- spTransform(mybasin, CRS( "+init=epsg:4326"))   

#Now we need to merge this with other shapefile we wanted to plot, and for that we need to change shapefile to dataframe. For that we used fortify.
mybasin2.f <- fortify(mybasin2, region = "area")

More information of the study basin

What I ma doing is hydrological anlayis, so subbasin partition is necessary. Here, I will plot the subbasin polygon maps as follows, as showsn for the basin polygon.
polysub<-readOGR(dsn="/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan",  layer="Subbasin_final")
## OGR data source with driver: ESRI Shapefile 
## Source: "/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan", layer: "Subbasin_final"
## with 15 features
## It has 7 fields
utms <- CRS("+init=epsg:32642")
polysub2 <- spTransform(polysub, CRS( "+init=epsg:4326"))   
polysub2.f <- fortify(polysub2, region = "netnum")
Similarly we do the same for the river netwrok shapefile.
Network<-readOGR(dsn="/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan",  layer="Network_final")
## OGR data source with driver: ESRI Shapefile 
## Source: "/Users/administrator/Documents/Afganistan", layer: "Network_final"
## with 15 features
## It has 6 fields
utms <- CRS("+init=epsg:32642")
Network2 <- spTransform(Network, CRS( "+init=epsg:4326"))   
Network2.f <- fortify(Network2, region = "netnum")
In the following, we have the dem of the study area, and here we would like to show it on the map
#First we reed the raster using the raster function 

#here we like to take only the dem for the basin, and delet map outside the basin
Farah_raster<-mask(Farah_raster, mybasin2)

#convert the raster to points for plotting
Farah_raster2 <- rasterToPoints(Farah_raster)

#Make the points a dataframe for ggplot so that we can merg with the polygon iformation
Farah_raster3 <- data.frame(Farah_raster2)

#Make appropriate column headings, wich is common with the other dataframe
colnames(Farah_raster3) <- c("long", "lat", "Elev")

Plotting using ggplot2

Now, we can use those data frames to use ggplot functionalities to plot high quality maps. First we plot the basin, subbasin polyogn, and the river network overlaid on the dem elevation for the study basin. Then, we will use the inset function that can be inserted in the figure to show the country location for those who are not familiar to the study area (basin).
# here is the basin, subbasin, river network, and elevatin Map
p1<-ggplot()+ geom_raster(data=Farah_raster3, aes(long,lat, fill=Elev)) +
    geom_polygon(data=polysub2, aes(long,lat, group=group), fill="grey40", colour="black",size=0.4, alpha=0)+
    geom_path(data=Network2, aes(long,lat, group=group), colour="blue")+
    coord_equal()+theme_bw()+xlab("")+ylab("") +
    scale_fill_gradientn(name="Elevation (m)", colours = terrain.colors(10)) +
    theme(legend.position = c(0.13, 0.75))
## Regions defined for each Polygons
The second plot i.e. the country shapefile.
p2<-ggplot()+geom_polygon(data=AF0, aes(long,lat,group=group),colour="grey10",fill="#fff7bc")+
    geom_line(data=mybasin2, aes(long,lat, group=group))+
    theme(axis.text.x =element_blank(),axis.text.y= element_blank(), axis.ticks=element_blank(),axis.title.x =element_blank(),
          axis.title.y= element_blank())
## Regions defined for each Polygons
## Regions defined for each Polygons
And finaly we can use the grid to combine the two plots and inset the country map inside the study area figure frame.
v1<-viewport(width = 1, height = 1, x = 0.5, y = 0.5) #plot area for the main map
v2<-viewport(width = 0.28, height = 0.3, x = 0.84, y = 0.38) #plot area for the inset map