The hydrological cycle does not appear to be that complicated at first sight. Sea water evaporates and then arrives back at the Earth’s surface in the form of precipitation. There, it evaporates again, infiltrates into the ground, and is transported by rivers back into the sea. This cycle is, however, influenced by complex interactions between the atmosphere, the surface of the Earth, soils, vegetation and groundwater. Scientists from Jülich and Bonn have developed a modelling platform, the Terrestrial Systems Modeling Platform (TSMP), which they use to simulate flows of terrestrial water, energy, and nutrients for large areas like parts of Germany or even Europe.

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Von Erhard Zeiss und Marcel Bülow

After a short stop in Amsterdam we made our way to Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Our first impression touching African ground was not just the temperature around 30 degrees Celsius and a humidity of about 80 percent which hit us hard exiting the air conditioned airplane from the 5 degrees cold Netherlands. But the warm welcome of the Ghanaian people.

A small “band” – one man with a digital piano playing and singing in the arrival hall of the airport – certainly contributed to this impression. In the row to the obligatory temperature scan (fever?) and the visa check we were well entertained – in particular when the singer started a song on Amsterdam when the Dutch cabin crew entered the hall and began dancing to the African vibes.

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Africa is no doubt the fastest growing continent in the world with a population of nearly 1.3 billion, growing at an average annual rate of 2.5% since the last 10 years. The growing population directly implies growing demand for food, energy, safe drinking water and health care. The growing youth population in most African countries has not been met with corresponding job opportunities within the continent to stem the incidences of high youth criminalities and quest for emigration. Infrastructures such as good  road  and public transportation systems, reliable power supply and affordable housing facilities, on which sustainable development can be built have not evolved with the evolving population in many Africa countries hence grossly affecting the living standard of the people.

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