Recovering eco-climatological data from Belgian colonial archives - historical context & protocols.

5th International Conference on Re-Analysis

Innocent Banzi Ngulu-kulu1, Kim Jacobsen2, Tom de Mil2, Jan Van den Bulcke3, Hans Verbeeck4, Koen Hufkens5

1Ghent University, 2Wood Biology Service, Royal Museum for Central Africa, 3Laboratory of Wood Technology, Ghent University, 4CAVElab Computational and Applied Vegetation Ecology, Ghent University, 5Richardson Lab, Harvard University

The COBECORE project aims to establish baseline climatological measurements by valorizing climatological legacy data, crucial for reanalysis. This lack of long-term (historical) climatological data leaves the central Congo Basin spatially and temporally under-represented. Even today, the central Congo Basin is currently represented by only a few rain gauges, limiting climate both retrospective analysis and forecasts across the Congo Basin.

Here we present the historical context in which measurements were made by La régie des plantations de la colonie (REPCO) and the Institut National d’Etudes Agronomique du Congo Belge (INEAC), covering six decades (1901 – 1960). We discuss the rationale behind the establishment of various measurement stations, the protocols used as well as instrumentation.

Our analysis provides contextual information critical to the proper valorization and interpretation of data collected within the COBECORE project.