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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Evaluating climate change impacts on the arid lands and water resources in Jordan

PI: Yaser Jararweh (Jordan University of Science and Technology)
U.S. Partner: G. Darrel Jenerette (University of California, Riverside)
Project Dates: August 2013 to December 2015

In Jordan, more than 75% of the land is arid or semi-arid, and it is estimated that only 7% of the country's land is arable. Jordan faces many environmental challenges, including limited natural freshwater resources, desertification, endangered species, and climate change, and these challenges are compounded by factors such as a rapidly expanding population, industrial pollution, depletion of natural resources, and recent unrest. The impacts of climate change are only likely to aggravate the situation further in the future. This project aims to design an intelligent system to monitor and track environmental changes in Jordan. The proposed system will evaluate the environment impact for various regions and classify them accordingly. The classification process aims at identifying environmentally threatened regions and resources and proposing immediate reverse actions to prevent possible environment declines for the other regions. The overreaching objective of this project is to enhance the capabilities and options for Jordanian official organizations and decision makers to help them better understand and respond to climate change.

The work these researchers will carry out entails developing foundations, principles, and metrics to assess vulnerability, impacts, problems, and variations to climate change in the arid and semi-arid lands of Jordan. Based on the assessment foundations, they hope that the project will build comprehensive and integrated assessment models for the impacts of climate change on arid lands, vegetation, animal and species diversity and distribution, water resources, hydrology, land topography, and pollution, as well as human adaptations to these changes. The study also aims to build an environmental monitoring infrastructure to collect environmental data from the targeted landscapes. These collected data will subsequently be used with various other data sources such as satellite imagery, sensor networks, pollution statistics, and historical data sets to build environmental assessment models. The study team will present their results and findings to Jordanian government officials and will conduct training workshops and outreach programs.

Summary of Recent Activities

US partner G. Darrel Jenerette from UC Riverside visited the project team from March 11 – 31. The visit proved crucially beneficial for the team as they were able to discuss and resolve multiple issues including methods to utilize the land use map and connecting it with the sensor stations to justify analytical results, the use of MODIS for satellite data, the current deployment of the sensor networks, building a buffer around each station and look at the land use proportion within each buffer, and integrating each of these factors into a comprehensive methodology. The team also finalized and submitted a new paper for the ICACON conference. Following Dr. Jenerette’s visit, the team participated in the second Jordan Funded Peer-Science Projects workshop on April 8th in Amman. This workshop brought together members of four Jordanian PEER funded projects and USAID Mission staff to share their projects, ideas, and experiences.
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