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The WASCAL (West Africa Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) project was launched in 2010. Ever since it was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with the aim of pooling regional competences and expertise with a focus on climate change, and its impact on agrarian and ecological land use systems and on developing and promoting adaptation strategies.

Essential results in the first project phase (2010-2017) are, inter alia, the formation and establishment of the WASCAL Competence Center (CoC) in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) as well as the WASCAL graduate schools. More than 180 PhD and Master students successfully completed their work on topics such as drought events and increasing rainfall variability, savanna land use systems and crop modelling, mitigation strategies and resilience, thereby contributing to improved regional understanding of climate change and food security.

The sustainable and future-proof continuation of these institutions is now in the focus of the WASCAL-DE-Coop project from 2019 to 2022. WASCAL-DE-Coop aims to strengthen existing cooperation with West African countries ( and to expand the partner network to other countries in West Africa.

The WASCAL-DE-Coop project is coordinated by the Department of Remote Sensing at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU). Under the grant number 01LG1808A, WASCAL-DE-Coop is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through the project carrier at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

Major project activities at the Department:

1. Coordination of the German contribution to the WASCAL graduate schools, support of WASCAL students in their research activities, and promotion of the professional exchange by involving German and West African scientists and experts in the WASCAL network, as well as strengthening of regional communication and collaboration.

2. Strengthening of the content knowledge and technical and methodological skills of junior scientists and experts through targeted teaching and training measures as well as workshops and excursions, particularly in the field of ground-based field data sampling, application-oriented remote sensing data analysis and spatial-temporal assessment and analysis of the variability of the agrarian-ecological use of savannah systems.

3. Deepening of knowledge and skills in the field of human-land interactions in the context of climate change and food security in West Africa by expanding the land use observation network and by aiming at satellite-based agricultural monitoring, in particular of rice areas, and model-based carbon sequestration in vegetation and the variability and dynamics of fire events in savanna ecosystems, and their effects on the fire-induced release of greenhouse gas emissions.

4. Support in science-based decision-making by deriving WASCAL services with regard to emissions and immissions of greenhouse gases with the further aim of developing and disseminating thematic policy briefs and strategy papers, and deriving further research potential in the region

5. Sustainable utilization of derived datasets for West African scientists and experts into operational applications and systems by developing and implementing an information technology infrastructure for integrated data analysis by installing a data cube on the WASCAL high performance computer in the WASCAL CoC.

Facts and Figures

Covering the whole state of Burkina Faso, this Data Cube contains:

  • Landsat 7 (30 m | 1999 – 2019)
  • Landsat 8 (30 m | 2013 – 2020)
  • Sentinel-1 (10 m | 2019 – 2020)
  • L2A Sentinel-2 (10 m, 20 m, 60 m | 2016 – 2020)


Remote Sensing Department

at the University of Würzburg,
Institute of Geography and Geology

Oswald-Külpe-Weg 86
97074 Würzburg