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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 July 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

PI Yaser Jararweh visited U.S. partner Darrel Jenerette at the University of California, Riverside March 4-11, 2014. The week of activities included many beneficial meetings and the exchange of data and images. The PI also gained knowledge in setting up and working with sensor networks. After returning home to the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Dr. Jararweh arranged a one-day workshop on April 3 attracting some 100 people, including university researchers, staff from non-governmental organizations, and representatives of small-to-medium enterprises. Participants heard briefings not only on Dr. Jararweh’s project but also on the PEER Science project on irrigation systems at Yarmouk University (Dr. Samer Samarah, PI).
The first paper generated from the project, “Evolution analysis of Jordan historical weather data,” was submitted to the journal Climate and Development for possible publication. Plans for the summer of 2014 include the deployment of sensor networks in the three data collection locations, which were identified with the help of the U.S. partner. The sensor networks are expected to collect data between June 2014 and June 2015.
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