A PROPOSED PROGRAM OF RESEARCH ON WEATHER/CLIMATE, ENVIRONMENT IN TEA ECOSYSTEMS IN SRI LANKA

Proponents:

Dr. Lareef Zubair, Tropical Climate and FECT and Columbia University (Project Leader).
Prof. P. Wickramagamage, University of Peradeniya and Tropical Climate / FECT.
Dr. Madhura Dharmadasa, Tropical Climate / FECT.

Institutions:

Tropical Climate and Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology with others
lz@tropicalclimate.org
Phone:  0777 209950 or 071 6622712 and 081-4922992 or 2376746 or
Columbia University Water Center, New York.  +1-646-309-0403

Potential Collaborators:

Dr. A. Saseendran, US Department of Agriculture.
Dr. J. Hansen, International Research Institute for Climate and Society.
Prof. Amor Ines, School of Natural Resources Management, Michigan State University. 

Potential Regional Collaborators

Prof. Ashok Mishra, IIT Kharagpur, Agricultural Engineering, West Bengal India.
Dr. MatayoIndeje / Dr. Joseph Mutembe, Climate Science, Climate Impacts, Nairobi, Kenya.

Introduction and Motivation

We propose a program which shall assess the impacts of climate on the Tea Plantation Systems in Sri Lanka with a primary focus on impacts on tea production, yield and quality and with a secondary focus on the impacts on Water Resources, Renewable Energy Supply, Health, Land Management, Logistics, Wildlife and Disaster Risk of the Plantation System. We propose to undertake research on the hill country areas with Tea Plantation initially and we shall focus on the estates that are under Dilmah engagement for detailed study.

In undertaking this project, we draw on about 30 related projects   conducted in Sri Lanka with a focus on plantations from the Adaptation and Impact Assessment to Climate Change in the Plantation Sector in Sri Lanka Project (AIACC) and the Agricultural Modeling Improvement and Inter-Comparison Project (AgMIP) for which Dr. Lareef Zubair was the co-PI and PI respectively. We have also been working extensively in the hill country of Sri Lanka for more than 20 years on the topic of climate. We have also been working in the areas of climate impacts and disasters for as long. Thus we have a fund of research, networks of collaborators and already collected data, expertise in model development for this region.

We are encouraged by the recent initiative of Dilmah Conservation towards developing a Climate Observatory and Climate Research Program. We submit therefore a concept note for an overall program of research in Four phases that we can contribute to and shall develop a proposal for the first phase.

In the next section, we describe the proposed objectives towards an overall program and following that we provide details of the first phase proposal.

OBJECTIVES BY PHASE

PHASE I:

  • SCOPING: Canvassing the industry for weather/ climate related information  needs  and availability of information resources for this work
  • DATA BASES ON WEATHER, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
    • Inventory, obtain and set up channels to access available ground observed weather and climate data including rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind at available time steps
      • Data Management
        • Inventory available and key missing weather and climate data in the plantation sector and the hill country
        • Identify all plantations that have weather records, the associated holding company and see whether these data are accessible in centralized location
        • Obtain these data either from central holdings, directly from the stations or through available channels
        • Inventory data records available through non-plantation sources – agrometeorological, meteorological stations are available but data from agrarian service centers, hospitals and other institutions shall be sought
        • Undertaking quality control of data
      • Undertake quality assessments of the available data
      • Set up a system to access the data regularly in the future

  • DATA BASE ON TEA SECTOR
    • Inventory, obtain and set up channels to access available data on tea sector
  • Identify plantation companies, plantations and contact lists
  • Develop metadata on tea data 
  • Collect and digitize reported data from Tea sectoral orgs.
  • Collect production, yield, and quality/price data at daily to seasonal scale.
    • Aggregate National
    • Aggregate by regions - Low, mid and high
    • Estates in Different Regions
  • Collect pest and disease histories regionally and for representative estates
  • Sectoral management and restructuring histories as it relates to Tea statistics
  • For selected estates identify histories of crops, soils, fertilizer use, labour issues

Biomass use, Hydropower production, Disaster events for selected estate

  • DIAGNOSING CLIMATE
    • Characterize intra-seasonal to inter-annual variability ofprecipitation, temperature and humidity in tea regions
    • Characterize decadal and multi-decadal trends in precipitation and temperature in the tea growing areas
    • Provide an Assessment of Current Near-Term Climate Change Projections from Recent Projects such as AIACC, AgMIP and the IPCC exercises
  • ASSESSING CLIMATE IMPACTS ON TEA PRODUCTION HISTORICALLY
    • Statistical Analysis of Historical Tea production data for last 50 years or longer for impacts from rainfall, temperature, humidity and other indices such as El Nino
    • Statistical Analysis of Extreme events
    • Analyzing the impact of climatic variation on tea growing regions
  • COMMUNICATING FINDINGS
    • Support Dilmah workshop on November 10, 2016
    • Produce weekly climate report for early adopters by November
    • Produce customized climate impact report for selected estates / regions
    • Develop portal for tea managers / Support Dilmah Conservation Efforts
    • Survey selected stakeholders on communication formats and modes and assessment of outputs

PHASE II

  • DISASTER RISK AND CLIMATE
    • Characterization of Drought in tea Producing areas for the last 40 years
    • Characterizing the Impact of Drought on Tea Production and Quality
    • Climate of and Climate Impacts on regions affected by intense flooding and landslide risk
    • Assessments of Impacts on transport, displacement and housing damage due to  drought, floods and landslides
  • REVIEW OF THE ROLE OF PEST, DISEASES, SOILS, ENVIRONMENT AND MANAGEMENT
  • POTENTIAL ADAPTATION OPTIONS FOR TEA ECOSYSTEMS
    • Catalogue Adaptation Aspects
    • Develop Methods to Asses Adaptation Options
  • CHARACTERIZE IMPACTS ON TEA ECOSYSTEM
    • Climate and Water Scarcity for Domestic Water Supply and Irrigation
    • Climate Impacts on Hydropower Production
    • Climate impacts on availability of wood and other biomass for factories and domestic use

PHASE III

  • DEVELOPING CUSTOMIZED LONG-TERM CLIMATE IMPACTS MODELS
  • DEVELOPING TEA CROP MODELS
  • REFINING CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECTIONS FOR THE HILL COUNTRY

PHASE IV

  • CHARACTERIZE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE ON PUBLIC HEALTH
    • Impacts on spread of Infectious Diseases such as Dengue
    • Impacts on prevalence of Tuberculosis
  • IMPACTS ON REGIONAL ECOSYSTEMS
    • Impact on biodiversity in montane forests and transitional forests
    • Impacts on wildlife populations and habitats
  • MODELING CARBON SEQUESTRATION BENEFITS IN THE TEA SECTOR
    • Modeling carbon sequestration by  tea regeneration
    • Modeling impacts of reforestation

PHASE I:

Objectives

  • SCOPING
  • Canvassing the industry for weather/ climate related information needs and availability of information resources for this work
  • Consulting stakeholders and potential early adopters in consultation with DC
  • Review research and past understanding 
  • Compilation of literature, research reports
  • Interview stakeholders and experts
  • Establish climate information needs for tea sector management
  • DATA BASE ON WEATHER, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT
  • Data Management

Inventory, obtain and set up channels to access available ground observed weather and climate data including rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind at available time steps

        • Inventory available and key missing weather and climate data in the plantation sector and the hill country
        • Identify all plantations that have weather records, the associated holding company and see whether these data are accessible in centralized location
        • Obtain these data either from central holdings, directly from the stations or through available channels
        • Inventory data records available through non-plantation sources – agrometeorological, meteorological stations are available but data from agrarian service centers, hospitals and other institutions shall be sought
        • Undertaking quality control of data
  • Undertake quality assessments of the available data
  • Set up a system to access the data regularly in the future
  • DATA ON THE TEA INDUSTRY FOR CLIMATE ANALYSIS
  • Inventory, obtain and set up channels to access available data on tea sector
  • Identify plantation companies, plantations and contact lists
  • Develop metadata on tea data 
  • Collect and digitize reported data from Tea sectoral orgs.
  • Collect production, yield, and quality/price data at daily to seasonal scale.
  • Collect pest and disease histories regionally and for representative estates
  • Sectoral management and restructuring histories as it relates to Tea statistics
  • For selected estates identify histories of crops, soils, fertilizer use, labour issues
  • Biomass use, Hydropower production, Disaster events for selected estates
  • DIAGNOSING CLIMATE FOR THE TEA INDUSTRY
  • Construct climatologies of rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind and climate analysis for the tea producing areas with focus on specific estates
  • Use high density of data to obtain monthly average rainfall climatologies for the hill country plantations region
  • Estimate ranges of the data and extreme events
  • Review climate change studies in detail for tea plantation regions
  • Characterize intra-seasonal to inter-annual variability of precipitation, temperature, humidity and wind.
  • Obtaining data and understand the more frequent and intense climate events in hill country in relationships to intra-seasonal to inter-annual variability of precipitation, temperature and humidity.
  • Conducting sample analysis in selected estates in major tea producing areas during the extreme precipitation and drought through the onset of theintra-seasonal to inter-annual variability of climatic conditions.
  • Characterizing Intra seasonal to inter annual - weekly to annual impacts further including El Nino and Indian Ocean
  • Characterize decadal and multi-decadal trends in precipitation and temperature in the tea growing areas.
      • Obtaining data ofdecadal and multi-decadal historical weather and production data in the tea growing areas of hill country.
      • Conducting plantation surveys regarding climate patterns and the effects of precipitation, temperature on tea yields and quality in hill country.
      • Constructing a yield response model that estimates the partial effect of weather factors on tea yields in in hill country with a specific focus on decadal and multi-decadal trends in precipitation and temperature in the tea growing areas.
      • Provide an Assessment of Current Near-Term Climate Change Projections from Recent Projects such as AIACC, AgMIP and the IPCC exercises.
      • Review Research on Decadal variability and Near-Term Climate Change
  • ASSESSING CLIMATE IMPACTS ON TEA PRODUCTION HISTORICALLY
  • Statistical Analysis of Historical Tea production and price data for last 50 years or longer for impacts from rainfall, temperature, humidity and other indices such as El Nino
  • Obtaining available dataof Historical Tea production for last 50 years or longer for impacts from rainfall, temperature, humidity and other indices.
  • Customizing existing statistical/dynamical model to estimates the effect of weather factors on tea yields in in hill country.
  • Developing a statistical model to understand impact of climate tea prices in the different region historically.
  • Undertake data mining to initially understand extreme impacts of climate.
  • Undertake data mining assessing the impacts of climate histories on tea production/quality.
  • Statistical analysis of relation of climate and tea variables for spatial scales from tea fields to aggregate regions identifying the most influential climate variables.
  • Statistical Analysis of Extreme Events. Analyzing the impact of climatic variation on tea growing regions
  • Data Mining: Obtaining data and understand the extreme and intense climate events in hill country to analyses the impact of climatic variation on tea growing regions.
  • COMMUNICATING FINDINGS
  • Distribution of weekly climate report to early adopters
  • Developing Customized weather and climate histories for specific seasons and estates
  • Provide Online Access to early adopters of monitored weather and climate for estates
  • Develop Experimental Estate Specific Climate impact reports
  • Undertake presentations for the Tea Industry

Outputs

Objective 1: Assessing Climate Information Needs/Resources for Tea Sector 

  • Report Outlining Needs Assessment and Knowledge Resources including 
    • Metadata on sources of available and essential data tea sector
    • Identification of key missing data, quality control and databases for tea growing areas

Objective 2: Tea sector Data for Climate Analysis

  • Metadata on availability of data for the tea sector and from plantations
  • Compilation of available and essential tea related data.
  • Quality Assessment of the Data
  • Brief interim / final reports on Data Collection

Objective 3: Climate data for Tea Sector Needs

  • Metadata on availability of climate and environmental data for the tea regions 
  • Compilation of available and essential tea related data.
  • Identification of missing data / plans to obtain these later
  • Quality Assessment of the Data
  • Brief interim /final reports on Data Collection

Objective 4: Climate Diagnostics

  • Climatological Analysis for available variables
  • Report on historical seasonal and inter-annual variability
  • Report on reports of decadal variability and climate change in tea producing areas

Objective 5: Climate Impacts on Tea

  • Statistical analysis to assess climate impacts on tea  production yield and price/quality
  • Developing statistical model to predict climate impacts on yield, production and quality/price
  • Data mining to review seasons with extreme climate influences on tea quality / productivity.
  • Brief Interim/Final Reports

Objective 6: Communication and Dissemination

  • Selected persons provided with weekly climate report
  • Customized weather and climate histories for designated early adopters
  • Online access for early adopters
  • Couple of estate specific reports if data is available
  • Contributions to workshops