Increasing satellite oceanography literacy and research in West Africa-the role of data availability
Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)
Session: Outreach, Education and Altimetric Data Services
Presentation type: Type Forum only
Despite the gains from resources (e.g. fisheries, tourism, oil and gas), as well as the challenges (e.g. coastal erosion, pollution and ocean piracy), that come with bordering an ocean and having a coast line, there have been limited research to understand how inhabitants co-exist and sustainably use these resources in West Africa. This is mainly due to the lack of expertise and comprehensive data sets to undertake such studies. The Coastal Ocean Environment Summer School in Ghana (www.coessing.org) was developed to help meet some of these challenges. Every summer since 2015, a team of ocean experts from the US, team up with colleagues in Ghana to run a week-long intensive summer school in Ghana (alternating between the Regional Maritime University and the University of Ghana). The school averages about 100 participants drawn from universities, government agencies and private sector organizations, mainly from Ghana as well as from neighboring Nigeria, Liberia, Togo, and Benin. The format of the school includes morning lectures and afternoon labs and field trips. Participants are introduced to the extensive satellite data sources, and trained to access, process and analyze these datasets to understand relevant oceanographic phenomena to their regions such as upwelling, sea level rise and coastal erosion. Beyond the school, facilitators keep in touch with the participants, helping them acquire and analyze data for their studies, and dissertations, among others. This presentation will highlight the successes, as well as challenges, of outreach and ocean data services to a relatively underserved group and how these could potentially be improved to increase oceanographic research in West Africa and possibly beyond.