The Angola-Benguela Upwelling System located off the south-west African coasts sustains a very diversified marine ecosystem. This region undergoes the occasional manifestation of extreme interannual warm events known as Benguela Niño events that can devastate the ecosystem, deplete the fish stocks and therefore affect the economy of south-west African developing countries. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the living marine resources, there is an urgent need to provide reliable and useful seasonal predictions of the marine environment and ecosystems to local stakeholders and economic actors. Recently, studies of the applicant and the host institution have revealed the potential of prediction of those extreme Benguela events. The BENGUP project seeks to develop the first climate-based marine ecosystem predictions of these abrupt environmental events and outlooks of fish stock in this region. Model prediction skills and related uncertainties will be assessed for the key ocean drivers of interannual variability in the region using existing dynamical systems. Based on this knowledge, a new prediction system capturing the predictability of extreme events and their impact on the marine ecosystem will be developed. Given the strong socio-economic and ecological implications, the outputs of this action will not only be of high impact to the local communities and fisheries, but will be also of broad interest to a wide array of disciplines, including marine biologists, climate modellers, policymakers, and members of the informed public. Through the fellowship, I will transfer my knowledge in regional modelling of South-Eastern Atlantic Ocean variability to the host institutions while adding a new discipline (climate prediction) and cutting-edge statistical techniques to my expertise. This project will represent a huge step in my career as it will position me as a leader in the growing field of climate-based marine ecosystem predictions.
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