Weather data
A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.


BIOTA Southern Africa - DS&T Project 6



DS&T 06


West Coast fog: regional climate dynamics and the role in regional soil moisture and nutrient cycling

Project leader(s)

Prof. Bruce Hewitson
Department of Environmental & Geographical Science, University of Cape Town,Private Bag, Rondebosch, 7701

Dr Anthony Mills
Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602 and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Private Bag X7, Claremont, 7735

Project description

The project will involve analysis of both satellite-derived data and on-the-ground fieldwork. Fog occurrence and frequency will be mapped and analyzed using Meteosat Second Generation satellite data. Once the frequency and distribution of the fog is known soil sampling will be carried out by a trained para-ecologist and undergraduate students. These soil samples will then be analyzed to determine to what degree the fog and dew are influencing soil moisture. Soil respiration work will be undertaken to determine whether rates of nutrient cycling are related to the occurrence of dew or mist. Modeling of both the role played by the fog in the regional climate and future changes as a result of climate change will also be undertaken.

SADC and International Links

The following soil scientists at the University of Hamburg will actively participate in the soil science methodology, analysis of data, interpretation of data and writing of papers:

Andreas Petersen email:
Dr. Alex Gröngröft
Prof. Gunter Miehlich

based at the:
Institute for Soil Science, University of Hamburg
Allende Platz 2
20146 Hamburg

These German colleagues are presently working with Anthony Mills on the soil science component of BIOTA II.

The project will also contribute to improving SADC forecasting skill and understanding of climate variability over the west coast regions. Understanding the role of the land surface in local climates will aid development of seasonal forecasts for the SADC region as well as understanding the impacts of land-use change. The results will be assessed in a global context through interaction with colleagues at the Danish Meteorological Institute (Dr. Martin Stendel) and University of Iowa (Professor William J. Gutowski Jr.)