The installation is amongst the world’s most advanced of its kind, and monitors the sea level change and other weather related parameters, such as atmospheric pressure, humidity and temperature, which is highly valuable information needed to track climate change impacts.
The project was initiated in recognition of the adverse impacts of climate change already noticeable globally, but more so in sub-Saharan countries such as Tanzania. The impacts are posing serious challenges to sustainable livelihoods and economic development to the rural populations, natural resources, ecosystem services and physical infrastructure. The information provided by the tide gauge will enhance our understanding of concrete climate-related changes and enable for evidence-based policies when it comes to adaptation and mitigation.
Long-term and multi-purpose project
The tide gauge was completed in 2016 and data recording started in the beginning of 2018. This is however just the beginning, as this type of installation is set to last for a minimum of 25 years, and will likely last for around 50 years. The tide gauge in Tanga also closes a gap in datasets related to ocean tides along the Tanzanian coastline, as there are tide gauges already installed in the Ports of Dar Es Salaam, Mtwara and Zanzibar. There are also similar installations along the rest of the east African coastline, such as in Kenya and Mozambique. Merging data from several stations will provide larger and more robust dataset that can provide more generalizable evidence on climate change impacts.
The data is currently transmitted to a server located at Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam, who manages and maintains the installation. In the next few months, the data will be published online and made universally available. With time, Ardhi University aims to become a part of GLOSS (Global Sea Level Observation System) so that users from all over the world can utilise the data. This system gathers data from similar stations all over the world.
The installation and the data can be used for scientific research on climate change, practical training of students, as well as by daily users, such as Tanzania Meteorological Agency and Tanzania Port Authority. The latter two organizations can utilize the data to make tide and weather predictions, and ease the efficiency of the activity in the port.
The CCIAM programme
The Tanga tide gauge is a result of the broader Climate Change, Impact Adaptation and Mitigation (CCIAM) Program. This is a cooperation between the Government of United Republic of Tanzania and the Kingdom of Norway, who agreed in 2008 to work together to develop and sustain adequacy in Tanzania’s national capacity to address the challenges caused by climate change, through implementing several REDD+ initiatives, a concept introduced in the COP13 conference in Bali 2007.
In addition to CCIAM, the initiative supported nine REDD+ pilot projects in 14 regions in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, to test REDD+ implementation at field level. CCIAM interventions focused on research, training, infrastructure, documentation and strategic policy interventions in addressing climate change impacts, adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Norway has supported the CCIAM program with NOK 93.8 million, over a period of six and a half years. The programme is however implemented by both Tanzanian and Norwegian partner institutions, namely Sokoine University of Agriculture, Ardhi University, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Meteorological Agency, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, University of Oslo, Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, Norwegian Agricultural Economic Research Institute and Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.