Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Thomas Minda

Date: 30 October 2019
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Aula, building 362, Gen. Foulkesweg 1, Wageningen

Dissertation title: 

Weather and crop dynamics in a complex terrain, the Gamo Highlands - Ethiopia: Towards a high-resolution and model-observation based approach

Group: Wageningen University, Meteorology and Air Quality
Promotor: Prof.dr. J. Vilà-Guerau de Arellano , prof.dr. P.C. Struik
Copromotor: M.K. van der Molen

Extra information:


In Ethiopia, potato is produced in an area of 164 thousand hectare of land and farmed by nearly 1.3 million small landholder farmers. The average national productivity is only 8 – 10 tons per hectare compared to 45 in a Western Country like The Netherlands. In this PhD project, we aim at gaining understanding and improving the representation of meteorological crop drivers and their interaction with potato crop dynamics. As a method we will develop high spatio-temporal resolution (2 x 2 km2, and hourly) weather (WRF model) hindcast product coupled with a crop eco-physiological model (GECROS) during 2001 - 2010. It is also planned that during 2016 five automatic weather stations will be installed to gain understanding on how complex topography influences the precipitation and temperature regimes. This detailed weather station network will enable us: (a) to obtain observational evidence of the mesoscale circulations (valley-mountain, lake effects, cold air accumulation) and (b) to evaluate WRF model results and remote sensing product related to soil moisture. As main outcome, we will deliver a reliable and well-tested agro-meteorological model that will provide improved forecasts of crop production in Chencha, Ethiopia. We expect that our PhD project will give insight in the vulnerability of food production to weather at different spatio-temporal scales and will provide direction to set up strategies in forecasting weather and climate effects related to food security.