Tag: Africa

Evaluating the Impact of Malaria Control Programs in Africa

Studies Show that Malaria Interventions are Critical Investments for Saving Lives in Africa New studies released today in a special supplement of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene add to the evidence that over the last decade, global malaria control efforts have saved millions of children’s lives in areas most affected by malaria. […]

Climate mapping tools support resilient development in East Africa

Yohana Tesfamariam Tekeste reports from a workshop on climate resilient development held in August in Zanzibar. In 2005, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society published its assessment of key gaps in the use of climate information for health, agriculture, water and other sectors in countries across Africa. The results from the report were […]

Tackling Sleeping Sickness in Maasai Communities

Powerful new tool helps rural Tanzanians reduce their exposure to tsetse flies and the deadly disease they carry. Pietro Ceccato remembers his first trip three years ago to a Maasai village located a two hour’s drive south of Arusha, Tanzania. He was there with a team of public health researchers to learn more about the […]

New Model Helps in Fight Against Deadly Parasitic Disease

IRI scientists and colleagues from South Africa are using satellites to detect seasonal water bodies that harbor schistosomiasis, the deadliest of the tropical neglected diseases Cole Porter romanticized the phrase in his 1936 song, but the probable origin of having someone — or something — under one’s skin is much less pleasant to consider. An […]

Malaria risk increases in Ethiopian highlands as temperatures climb

The highlands of Ethiopia are home to the majority of the country’s population, the cooler climate serving as a natural buffer against malaria transmission. New data now show that increasing temperatures over the past 35 years are eroding this buffer, allowing conditions more favorable for malaria to begin climbing into highland areas. That is the […]

ENACTS Maprooms for Malaria Control

Climate data and tools for malaria control in Africa – the ENACTS initiative By Madeleine Thomson Public health policy makers and practitioners are increasingly concerned about the  impact that climate, environmental and social changes might have on the effectiveness of current and future vector-borne disease control and elimination programs. Yet, while climate change adaptation programs […]

New Climate Data Transforms Insurance Projects in Africa

By Dan Osgood, Lead Scientist, IRI Financial Instruments Sector Team Small farms are vulnerable to climate risk, but most smallholder farmers around the world don’t have access to insurance and other financial tools to manage fluctuations in climate. Over the past decade we’ve put a great deal of effort into a new kind of insurance–index insurance–that […]

World Met Day: Partnering with national meteorological services to support farmers in Africa

The below is an excerpt from a blog written by IRI staff members James Hansen, Alison Rose and Dannie Dinh and originally appearing on the CCAFS website. On World Meteorological Day, we highlight how CCAFS and partners are supporting national meteorological services in African countries to provide actionable local climate information to farmers. The important contributions […]

Local beats global when it comes to national climate services in Rwanda

By Dannie Dinh, James Hansen, Floribert Vuguziga, Madeleine Thomson, Yohana Tekeste, and Aisha Owusu This post originally appeared on the web site of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate, Agriculture and Food Security. Climate data gaps are an obstacle to providing useful services for smallholder farmers Climate information—and its use for farming decision making, index-based […]

New Climate Data in Zambia Unlocks Insurance Opportunities

In mid September, IRI staff helped launch an innovative new data platform in Lusaka, Zambia that combines satellite rainfall estimates with the country’s existing network of rain gauges. The platform, developed with the Zambia Meteorological Department and through funding from NASA, is the latest to come out of IRI’s Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative […]

How Oceans Dried Out the Sahel

The original version of this post first appeared on the web site of the International Institute for Environment and Development. What caused the great Sahelian drought of the 1970s and 80s? For the past 10 or so years, state-of-the-art climate models have consistently shown how the shift from the anomalously wet conditions that characterised the […]

Remote Sensing and Index Insurance: Finding a Common Language

by Bristol Powell & Helen Greatrex, Financial Instruments Sector Team   Satellite products could give index insurance projects the scaling power they seek, but challenges remain. A workshop held earlier this year addressed these challenges head on. Index insurance is innovative, but can it reach a critical mass? Until recently, many have doubted that index insurance could scale […]

25,000 Insured Ethiopian Farmers Receive Payments for El Niño Droughts

By Daniel Osgood More than 25,000 insured farming families in Ethiopia have received payments for crop loss and damages after a year of devastating drought caused in large part by the 2015 El Niño. The farmers purchased the insurance through the R4 Rural Resilience Initiative [latest report], run by the World Food Program and Oxfam America. […]

Forecasting Climate, with Help from the Baobab Tree

In El Niño retrospective, lessons from Senegal In a three-part series for the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, graduate student Catherine Pomposi relates her experience in Senegal during the 2015 El Niño. She explains the 2015 El Niño forecast and its climate impacts in Senegal, as well as current efforts to better understand climate in […]

Transforming Climate Services in Africa One Country at a Time

This post originally appeared on the World Policy Institute website. Ten million people in Ethiopia are considered food insecure due to the onset of drought in 2015. From Lesotho to the Sahel, African countries are grappling with the medium- and long-term impacts that climate change will have on their people, economies, and politics. However, even […]

Farmers receive insurance payouts in Senegal

In Tambacounda, Senegal, small-scale farmers rely on sufficient and steady rainfall at key times of the growing season. As climate change leads to increased irregularity and intensity of rainfall events, the adaptation strategies employed by farmers to cope with shocks do not always suffice. The fear of poor productivity in a year often prevents them from […]

New Climate Services Program in Rwanda Aims to Reach One Million Farmers

The Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project, officially launched on #WorldMetDay 2016, will benefit nearly one million farmers over the next three years and reshape national food-security planning for the long term. (Kigali, Rwanda) 23 March 2016. To build a more climate-resilient agriculture sector, the Rwandan government and partners are taking action to provide nearly […]

New Research: El Niño Teleconnections in the Sahel & East Africa

Pradipta Parhi, a graduate research assistant in Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering published a paper in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of Climate. The study examines why two areas of Africa – the Sahel and eastern equatorial Africa – tend to experience drier- and wetter-than-normal rainy seasons, respectively, during El Niño. He is […]

Climate Change is Greening the Sahel? Not so Fast…

The Sahel is a semiarid region south of the Sahara Desert that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. In the 1970s and 1980s it was hit by a series of persistent droughts and recurring famines that killed more than 100,000 people. The region remains one of the poorest and least developed in […]

2015 El Niño: Notes for the East African Malaria Community

UPDATE: This publication was originally produced by IRI in June 2015. It has been updated monthly, and the October 2015 version is now available here [PDF].  Climate is one of many variables that influence where and when malaria outbreaks occur. Precipitation, humidity and temperature affect the development and survival of mosquitoes, with temperature also affecting the malaria parasites carried […]

World Malaria Day: What’s Climate Got To Do With It?

Today, April 25, marks the commemoration of World Malaria Day, instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States in 2007 as an annual “occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.” Climate is one of many variables that influence where and when malaria outbreaks occur. The International Research Institute […]

VIDEOS: A Host of Visitors

A walk through the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is often punctuated by the sounds of French, Spanish and other languages drifting through the halls. Our international staff contributes to this, but usually it’s a sign that we are hosting visitors for training and collaborations. Despite the increasing online connectedness of our world, […]

Boosting Climate Resilience in Africa Through Improved Climate Services

By Katherine Peinhardt The International Research Institute for Climate and Society is hosting a side event on improving data availability, access and use at the Third African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET) conference, a high-level meeting of ministers and heads of meteorological services in Africa, which takes place in Cape Verde, from February 10-14, 2015. […]

New Study Proves Weather-Based Index Insurance Can Work For Rural Poor on Large Scale

Findings spur Nigerian government to look into solutions to cover 15 million farmers by 2017 LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (26 January 2015) — Nigerian government officials will convene in London this week to gather advice for scaling-up agricultural insurance policies for smallholder farmers, to bolster the up and coming agricultural powerhouse’s resilience to climate and market shocks. The meeting […]

IRI@AGU: Mapping the Sahel’s Re-greening

Headed to AGU? Find the full schedule of IRI staff presenting here.  The Sahel region, just south of the Sahara Desert, stretches across Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The persistent drought and resulting famines that pummeled the region in the 1970s and 80s were for decades blamed on local societies – on […]

Insurance and Adaptation: Farmer Driven Opportunities (Video)

The Financial Instruments Sector team at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society works with farmers, development organizations and agencies, insurance companies and other research institutes to design insurance products that are tailored to local and regional climate risks and economic systems. With the help of the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, we’ve produced this video […]

IRI’s Role in South Africa’s Seasonal Climate Forecast Operations

Several decades of climate research have shown seasonal temperature and rainfall patterns over southern Africa to be predictable months in advance. While scientists recognized the importance of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on seasonal climate variability in this region during the 1980s, South Africa first began issuing regular seasonal forecasts in the early 1990s. Over the past twenty years, enhanced modeling systems have […]

El Niño and Global Health: Latest Bulletin

The Public Health group at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has posted a new update of its bulletin on El Niño, focused on providing information to assist health planners and practitioners concerned with malaria in Eastern Africa. Emerging El Niño Conditions: Notes for the East African Malaria Community, takes into account IRI’s latest forecasts. As with previous bulletins, IRI […]

Data for Malaria Decision Making in Africa

Earlier this year, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Columbia Global Centers | Africa  supported a two-day meeting of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania called “Strengthening National Climate Data and Information for Malaria Decision Making in Africa”. The meeting, held August 4-5, provided an overview of existing […]

Climate and Health in Africa

  • Journal: Earth Perspectives
  • Vol. 1
  • Publisher: Springer
  • Published: June 2014

Author(s):

Madeleine C Thomson
Simon Mason
Barbara Platzer
Abere Mihretie
Judy Omumbo
Gilma Mantilla
Pietro Ceccato
Michel Jancloes
Stephen Connor

Field Notes: Climate, Health and the Maasai

IRI’s Pietro Ceccato recently attended the 2nd Capacity Building Workshop for the World Health Organization TDR/IDRC research initiative on Population Health Vulnerabilities to Vector-Borne Diseases: Increasing Resilience under Climate Change Conditions in Africa, held at the Nelson Mandela University in Arusha, Tanzania. He shares his observations here. Earlier this year, I attended a workshop in Arusha, Tanzania […]

Field Notes: Talking Data with Senegal’s Farmers

By Catherine Pomposi On a hot weekend in mid-June, I traveled with members of the Senegalese National Meteorological Agency, known by the acronym ANACIM, to the village of Toucar in the Fatick region of Senegal. The meteorological team works in the region producing and delivering climate information for the farmers who live there. Fatick, like […]

Seeing More with Satellites: Improving Insurance for African Farmers

By Bristol Mann and Radost Stanimirova A group of climate scientists, economists and remote sensing experts from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center are collaborating to help solve a longstanding issue in the development of agriculture insurance programs in Africa: how to generate enough quality environmental data […]

Climate’s Role in Malaria

Today marks World Malaria Day, instituted by World Health Organization (WHO) Member States in 2007 as an annual “occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.” The theme for this year’s World Malaria Day is Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria.  The Investment of Research Climate is an […]

Scientists develop climate forecast model for meningitis

Note: Reprinted with permission. Copyright 2014 E&E Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net/cw 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 […]

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 […]

IRI@AGU: Inundation Detection for Public Health is “Far-out”

This post is the third in a series of Q&As with scientists from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society who will be presenting their work at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco December 9 to 13. Climate variability and change is an important facet of public health studies of infectious […]

IRI@AGU: Linking Ocean Temperatures and Sahel Climate

This post is the second in a series of Q&As with scientists from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society who will be presenting their work at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco December 9 to 13. During the 1970s and 80s, the western Sahel suffered from severe and prolonged […]

NASA and IRI: Bringing ‘Space to Village’ in East Africa

IRI and NASA have been working together for the past five years on developing products derived from remotely sensed images for monitoring climate and environmental factors that affect the transmission of vector-borne diseases. Their collaboration has expanded recently through new activities with SERVIR Africa, NASA’s partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Regional […]

Insuring 37,000 Rwandan Farmers Against Drought

Index insurance can lower the cost of insurance, allowing smallholder farmers to buy insurance that can help them withstand the impacts of bad years and risk making productive investments in good years. A key component of index insurance is historical data – often temperature or rainfall data – to use as a basis for creating an index that determines when insurance payouts […]

A Healthy Collaboration

Diseases influenced by climate include malaria, dengue fever and cholera. Changes in climate can alter how these and other infectious diseases develop and spread. Scientists at the International Research Institute for Climate Society (IRI) research ways to mitigate the effects of current transmission and future changes of such diseases as participants in the Pan American Health Organization […]

A Wetter Sahel, But Will It Last?

The Sahel is a semiarid region south of the Sahara Desert that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. In the 1970s and 1980s it was hit by a series of persistent droughts and recurring famines, epitomized by the 1984 famine in Ethiopia. The Sahel remains one of the poorest and least developed […]

Farmers in Senegal Use Forecasts to Combat Climate Risks

Climate in Africa’s Sahel region varies dramatically from one year to the next and often threatens farmers’ livelihoods. In Kaffrine, Senegal, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, the Senegalese National Meteorological Agency, the country’s agriculture extension service, the Earth Institute’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and many farmers […]

Poor Ethiopian Farmers Receive “Unprecedented” Insurance Payout

Oxfam America and The Rockefeller Foundation announced a weather index insurance payout of unprecedented scale directly to poor farmers. Thanks to a groundbreaking new program that relies on advanced satellite technology, more than 12,200 farmers in 45 villages in Northern Ethiopia will benefit from drought protection. As a result of this year’s drought conditions each […]

Food Security in the Face of Changing Climate

The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 900 million people in the world were chronically hungry between 2010 and 2012. The organization is also warning we could face a global food crisis in 2013 because of historically low grain reserves and rising food prices. Add to this the ever-present challenge of trying to increase both production of and […]

From Birmingham to Bamako: How Farmers Deal with Drought

by Vanessa Meadu, Francesco Fiondella and Brian Kahn The massive and wide-scale drought that has left American farmers shaking their fists at barren clouds is the fifth-worst on record for the U.S. Eight out of every 10 acres of agricultural land has been affected. As a result, farmers will pull in the lowest corn yield […]

Photo Essay: Into the Heart of Dryness

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. Life expectancy there is 54 years, and it has an infant mortality rate higher than any other country except Afghanistan. It is also a country that is extremely vulnerable to climate variability and change. The livelihoods of four out of five people in Niger depend […]

Is Drought In East Africa The New Normal?

Earlier this month, we wrote about a report from the US Agency for International Development’s Famine and Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) that warns the Horn of Africa may once again face food shortages because of a poorly performing rainy season. In January, climate scientists Bradfield Lyon and David Dewitt from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society […]

Climate and Food Security in the Horn of Africa

The latest report from the US Agency for International Development’s Famine and Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) warns that the March-to-May rainy season for the Horn of Africa, also known as the “long rains”, is likely to perform poorly again this year. The agency has called for humanitarian organizations to “immediately implement programs to protect livelihoods […]

More Food Insecurity Expected in Horn of Africa

The latest report from the US Agency for International Development’s Famine and Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) warns that the March-to-May rainy season for the Horn of Africa–also known as the “long rains”–is likely to perform poorly again this year. The agency is calling for humanitarian organizations to “immediately implement programs to protect livelihoods and household […]

Climate Services: Think Local

This is one of a series interviews with climate and development experts conducted at the International Conference on Climate Services, held at Columbia University in October 2011.    Edward Carr is the Global Climate Change Science Adviser to the US Agency for International Development. He wants to ensure that international climate services will take into account […]

A model for improving climate services in Africa

In developed countries, we are accustomed to having access to long and detailed records on weather and climate conditions, demographics, disease incidence and many other types of data. Decision makers use this information for a variety of societal benefits: they spot trends, fine-tune public health systems and optimize crop yields, for example. Researchers use it […]

East Africa Drought Is “Exceptional”

In this video interview, IRI’s chief climate scientist, Simon Mason, explains how truly intense the drought in East Africa has been compared to other droughts. In many parts of Kenya…the amount of rain that has been received is less 25% of normal, in some areas it’s less than 5%. To put those figures in context…much […]

Health Risks From Famine Likely to Persist

In a video interview about the East Africa famine, IRI’s Madeleine Thomson, an expert in climate and public health, says the health consequences of the famine will be felt not only in the short term, but for years and decades to come: We know from the 1984 Ethiopia famine that the impacts are intergenerational. They […]

Insuring Against Drought

In our latest video interview, research economist Dan Osgood discusses index insurance and how it is helping some poor rural communities reduce hardships caused by drought in East Africa: These products are becoming available to people for the first time at larges scales just this year. Given the difficulties of these [two] years, the farmers […]

The Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

Let’s get this out of the way. The current famine in the Horn of Africa isn’t caused by drought. Rather, a complex mix of societal and political factors created a dangerous situation.The worst drought in 60 years is what pushed that situation over the edge into a humanitarian crisis. However, just as these social factors were […]

Informing Farmers and Combating Drought in Mali

In countries where an overwhelming majority of the population relies on rain-fed agriculture, drought can have serious consequences. Mali found this out during a crippling decade-long drought during the 1970s and 1980s. As part of drought response efforts, the Malian government collaborated with a range of humanitarian actors starting in 1982 to provide farmers with […]

Homecoming

by Ken Kostel It would be easy for any graduate student to turn inward during his or her time at Columbia University, to focus solely on the long, rigorous task of publishing journal articles and completing the thesis. It would be easier still for a newly minted scientist to look anywhere other than his or […]

IRI Scientist wins NSF CAREER award

Alessandra Giannini, a research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER award to advance our understanding of climate model projections in the African Sahel, a semi-arid region south of the Sahara Desert that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. The Faculty […]

Climate and Meningitis in Africa – A Google Earth Tour

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Google are offering a guided tour of Africa to teach you about the relationship between climate and deadly meningitis outbreaks there. No need to pack your bags, though: it’s a virtual tour, one you can run on Google Earth from your living room. The climate and […]

Leaders in index insurance expand their commitments in Ethiopia

Swiss Re, Oxfam America, The Rockefeller Foundation and Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society announced a joint Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative 2009 meeting in New York, held from September 22 to 25. The collaboration is aimed at helping communities most vulnerable to climate variability and change. It will […]

Managing Ethiopia’s Water Resources

IRI’s Paul Block describes his recent trip to Koraro, Ethiopia, where there is a cluster of 11 Millennium Villages. Block is working to improve agricultural water management in the area, which is one of the most impoverished in the country and suffers from very poor infrastructure and severe drought. This project has been made possible […]