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Elisabeth Gawthrop

Weather in Context: Weird Winter or Standard Season?

It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a particular weather event as caused or made worse by climate change, but during any prolonged duration of exceptional weather, such questions always arise. We want to know if the weather we’re experiencing is actually unusual, if it’s part of larger climatic change and if it’s going to become more […]


Online Crop Calendar Helps Indonesian Government Manage Climate Risk

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the Center on Globalization and Sustainable Development at Columbia University are collaborating with the Centre for Climate Risk and Opportunity Management in Southeast Asia Pacific at Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB – Bogor Agriculture University) in Indonesia to help farmers cope with droughts, fires and other climate impacts. The project, called “CU-IPB […]


Climate Change: A Global Public Health Issue

By Madeleine Thomson, Senior Research Scientist For a long time people perceived climate change as an environmental issue–the concern of environmentalists, the concern of a few. It was reframed as a justice issue at the turn of the 21st century, when it became clear that those most likely to suffer the consequences of climate change […]

Tony Barnston 03-2014 briefing

March 2014 Climate Briefing: Increasing Odds for El Niño

From the March climate briefing, given by IRI’s Chief Forecaster Tony Barnston: Tony Barnston provides an overview of the briefing Changes from last month’s briefing The IRI’s March ENSO forecast puts the chances of El Niño conditions at 60% for early next fall, an increase from the 45% probability in IRI’s February forecast and  the 52% probability from NOAA/IRI’s official […]

Dusty wind at the height of the dry season in Naimey, Niger. Francesco Fiondella/IRI

Scientists develop climate forecast model for meningitis

Note: Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 E&E Publishing, LLC. by Umair Irfan, E&E reporter The Harmattan, a dark, dusty northeasterly trade wind, dims the winter skies over West Africa and sows a deadly plague in its wake. The affliction, meningitis, can infect up to 200,000 people annually across the Sahel, but with regional climate […]

Niamey, Niger. Francesco Fiondella

Climate Conditions Help Forecast Meningitis Outbreaks

by Michael Shirber, for Astrobiology Magazine Wind and dust conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa Africa can help predict a meningitis epidemic. Determining the role of climate in the spread of certain diseases can assist health officials in “forecasting” epidemics. New research on meningitis incidence in sub-Saharan Africa pinpoints wind and dust conditions as predictors of the […]

New paper: Wild card of decadal variability when simulating future climate scenarios

What follows is the first half of a post written by IRI climate scientist Arthur Greene for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security web site. Greene describes his work to understand how year-to-year and decadal climate fluctuations can act to either enhance or mitigate the effects of climate change. Follow the […]


Explainer: The Global Warming ‘Hiatus’

In the March issue of Nature Climate Change, IRI Director Lisa Goddard explains what may be behind the recent slowdown in global temperature growth in a piece titled “Heat Hide and Seek”. The Earth Institute’s Kim Martineau interviewed Goddard for some additional thoughts. We include the original Q&A here along with additional resources. Q: Is there a global warming […]

This map displays monthly departures from average sea- surface temperature for the Pacific Ocean in January 2014. Yellow to red colors on the map indicate areas where sea-surface temperatures were above the January average, and blue shades indicate where they were  below normal. Shading starts at +/- 0.5°C. The pattern for  January 2014 indicates an ENSO state on the border of neutral and La Niña conditions. More in our map room.  

February 2014 Climate Briefing: Kelvin Waves Signal Potential El Niño

From February’s climate briefing, given by our Tony Barnston: The central and eastern Pacific Ocean is currently experiencing borderline La Niña conditions, but many models are forecasting an El Niño to develop this (northern hemisphere) summer. Although scientists still don’t know the exact mechanism behind the Pacific’s transition from one state of the El Niño […]

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