Tag: Latin America and Caribbean

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Voices from CariCOF: Dry Season 2015-16

The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum, also known as CariCOF, brings together climate scientists and meteorologists with decision-makers who may be able to use climate information. During the meeting, now held twice a year — once at the beginning of the dry season and once at the beginning of the wet season — the scientists present […]

Primer pronóstico estacional de rayos del mundo

Con unos 250 flashes por kilómetro cuadrado por año, la Cuenca del Lago de Maracaibo en el noroeste de Venezuela tiene la mayor tasa anual de rayos del mundo. La actividad de rayos es tan común en este sitio que tiene un nombre propio, Relámpagos del Catatumbo, siguiendo el nombre de la región localizada en […]

World’s First Seasonal Lightning Forecast

At about 250 lightning flashes per square kilometer per year, the Lake Maracaibo Basin in northwestern Venezuela has the highest annual lightning rate of any place in the world. Lightning activity is so common there that it has a proper name, Catatumbo Lightning, named for the Catatumbo region located in the southwest corner of the […]

Heightened Fire Activity Predicted for Amazon in 2016

The IRI has developed a forecast maproom that characterizes the expected fire activity in the Amazon based on climate conditions for the upcoming dry season. Kátia Fernandes, along with Walter Baethgen and Lisa Goddard, have been researching how the Amazon fires are influenced by large-scale ocean phenomena and how sea surface temperature (SST) forecasts can […]

Climate Remains a Question in Zika Virus Spread

The Wellcome Trust just published a Q&A with Columbia University/IRI’s Madeleine Thomson in which she explains the relationship between Zika and climate, as well her outlook for future epidemics and the role of climate science, excerpted in part below. How are Zika virus and the climate related? We know that virtually all vector-borne diseases have a climate dimension. […]

Farmers in Honduras. Photo: IRI/Elisabeth Gawthrop

VIDEO: What tools do Honduran farmers want for climate risk?

Text by Sofía Martínez Video by Elisabeth Gawthrop, Sofía Martínez and Courtney St. John Answers from insurance research La version en español esta disponible aquí.  During the first of the two growing seasons of 2015, grain farmers in El Paraíso, Honduras faced one of the worst droughts in history, with losses ranging from 60 to 100% […]

Farmers in Honduras. Photo: IRI/Elisabeth Gawthrop

¿Cuáles herramientas quieren los productores hondureños para el riesgo climático?

Texto por Sofía Martínez Video por Elisabeth Gawthrop, Sofía Martínez and Courtney St. John Respuestas de la investigación English version available here.  Durante las dos temporadas agrícolas del 2015, los productores de granos básicos de El Paraíso, Honduras se enfrentaron a una de las peores sequías en la historia, con pérdidas desde un 60 hasta […]

The Atlantic Ocean holds the key to western Amazon rainfall

By Samuel McGlennon This post is an excerpt of a piece on the website for the Center for International Forestry Research. View the full article here.  In 2010, catastrophic fires ravaged huge tracts of the western Amazon, a region of rainforest that until just a few years earlier was considered beyond the reach of serious drought. Those […]

Minds on the Information Gap: Climate in the Caribbean

This post is an excerpt from a multimedia story published by IRI on Medium.com. View the full story and video series here. On the road from Hewanorra airport in southern St. Lucia to the capital in the north of the island, a bridge is missing, washed out during heavy rains on Christmas Eve, 2013. A sharp […]

New Discussion Briefs: Water & Climate in the Caribbean

In partnership with the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES) at the University of West Indies, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society has released a set of four discussion briefs related to water and climate in the Caribbean. The briefs are designed for policy makers and others who work in the water sector to learn more about […]

Seeds of Hope: IRI in Uruguay

This story was written by David Craig and originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Columbia Magazine. Photography and additional reporting by Francesco Fiondella. As climate change creates agricultural instability around the world, Columbia scientists are testing a seasonal forecasting system in Uruguay to give farmers a fighting chance. Daniel Lalinde doesn’t need a […]

Innovative Weather Model Helps Caribbean Prepare for Drought

This story was originally published in FrontLines, a news publication of the U.S. Agency for International Development. When it comes to climate risks in the Caribbean, the bluster and rage of hurricanes and tropical storms steal the stage. These events flare up quickly, can cause enormous damage and loss of life, and dissipate within days. Drought is […]

Behind the Expected Quiet 2015 Hurricane Season

By Chia-Ying Lee, IRI Postdoctoral Research Scientist This post originally appeared in the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet Blog. It does not feel like summer in New York City as I write, but today (a cool, rainy June 1) is the official start day for the Atlantic hurricane season, which will last until November 30. What […]

One Size Fits None: Drought forecasting in the Caribbean

This post contains excerpts from the full version on our Medium account.  Most extreme climate and weather events involve an unwanted surplus — too much rain, too much wind or too much snow and ice. Drought is a little different: it’s the absence of something. It takes time for a drought to build, making it fundamentally different to monitor […]

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, […]

New Information on Climate Drivers of Dengue Fever

*Original version of this release posted by Upstate Medical UniversityResearchers from Upstate Medical University, Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and other U.S. and international institutions have discovered new information on the climate drivers of dengue fever and social risk factors that may be contributing to its spread. Their findings were published in the […]

Video: Managing Water in a Dry Land

The Elqui River valley lies in Chile’s northern, mountainous Coquimbo region, which is extremely dry. The region receives only about 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain each year, and most of it during one short rainy season. The rainfall is also highly variable and driven in large part on El Niño and La Niña fluctuations. In some years, […]

Looking back: A year of forecasts, partnerships and climate information

by Manon Verchot In 2013, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society teamed up with the University of Arizona to help regions of the world that are most vulnerable to climate variability and change. Here’s a look at what has been accomplished so far. Farmers are at the mercy of the weather. They need […]

VIDEO: Designing Insurance with Dominican Dairy Producers

Over the last year, the financial instruments sector team at IRI has been working in the Dominican Republic to design an index insurance product for the country’s dairy producers. This work has been part of the Climate Resiliency and Index Insurance Program (CRII), funded by the USAID office in the Dominican Republic. In a new video, we show how researchers […]

Water and Climate Courses in the Caribbean

This article is a modification from a post by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. This month, students completed the final course in a series of four online courses that address the ongoing societal challenges of managing water resources under the pressures of climate change and variability. Early in 2014, the Water and Climate Education Program […]

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 First International Office

On August 14, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society signed an agreement with Uruguay’s Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria to open an IRI office in Uruguay and to expand ongoing scientific collaboration between Uruguay and Columbia University.  The new five-year agreement, which starts in September, will support two-way exchanges between IRI and INIA staff. Some funds to […]

Drought Insurance for Ganaderos in the Dominican Republic

By Sofía Martínez, Radost Stanimirova and Daniel Osgood Since January, the northwestern Dominican Republic has experienced one of the worst droughts in 15 years. Early work by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and its partners on a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development has shown the potential for using […]

Factsheet: Climate-Resilient Farming

Farmers in Central America and the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to the impacts of a changing and variable climate. Current and projected changes in temperature, precipitation and the frequency of droughts, hurricanes and other extreme events threaten the region’s ability to meet goals for food security and economic growth. Farmers here typically lack access to timely, […]

Videos: Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum

This May, climatologists, meteorologists, social scientists, and decision-makers from sectors including water resources, agriculture, and health gathered in Kingston, Jamaica for the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF). CariCOF is one of many such forums that are held around the world to produce and disseminate consensus-based regional seasonal climate forecasts. Many of the CariCOF attendees also participated […]

Live from Kingston: It’s CariCOF

By Elisabeth Gawthrop and Mea Halperin The Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) took place yesterday in Kingston, Jamaica. It is one of a number of Climate Outlook Forums (COFs) around the world during which scientists present a forecast to decision makers who work in climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water management, disaster planning and health. The forecast […]

Q&A – Why care about CariCOF?

Next week, the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (known as CariCOF) will kick off in Kingston, Jamaica. At this event, both providers and users of climate information from across the Caribbean will discuss the upcoming season’s forecast and the ways the forecast might be used to make decisions in water resources, tourism and disaster risk management. To learn […]

IRI and U. of Arizona Team Up for Climate

IRI and the University of Arizona address climate vulnerability in most at-risk areas of the world in new project The Caribbean, Asia’s Indo-Gangetic Plain and West Africa are three regions known to be extremely vulnerable to climate variability and change, particularly to droughts, extreme weather events and stresses on food production, water resources and coastal areas. A […]

Water and Climate Courses in the Caribbean

This article is a modification from a post by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. In the Caribbean, most states rely on a single source of water for all domestic, agricultural and industrial needs. Variations in rainfall brought on by climate change add to the challenge of managing this limited resource. Furthermore, there […]

Climate Services for Farmers: Jamaica

Follow-up coverage from the recently held Third International Conference on Climate Services (ICCS3) continues, this time from our partners at the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The World Bank’s Ana E. Bucher gives an informative overview of the climate challenges faced by farmers in Mafoota, a small farming community in […]

Climate prediction tools show role of oceans in Amazon drought and fire season

In the last decade, warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic have corresponded with below-average precipitation in Peru and western Brazil. The relationship is due to the effect of sea surface temperatures on the location of the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) – a band of clouds and rain stretching around the globe where trade winds […]

Interns Explore Epidemic, Crop Yield Predictions for IRI, NASA

Andrew Kruczkiewicz sits in front of his laptop, examining a map of South Sudan. The map shows precipitation across the country in varying shades of green. Kruczkiewicz is comparing maps of rainfall and other climate variables with epidemiological information over the same area. He and his research partner, Alexandra Sweeney, are both interns for NASA’s DEVELOP […]

Dengue’s Climate Connection

This article is a modification from the press release issued by SUNY’s Upstate Medical University. A study by an international team of researchers led by Anna M. Stewart Ibarra, Ph.D., at the Center for Global Health & Translational Science (CGHATS) at SUNY Upstate Medical University, has provided public health officials with information that will help decrease the […]

Risk of Amazon Rainforest Dieback Higher than IPCC Projects

This article is a modification from the original press release issued by The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences A new study suggests the southern portion of the Amazon rainforest is at a much higher risk of dieback due to climate change than projections made in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel […]

Climate Forecasts: A Vital Tool for Policymakers

Our friends at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network have written a nice post that explains how IRI’s seasonal climate forecasts have been for decision making, focusing on a particular case in Uruguay. In December 2010, reports showed that many areas of Uruguay were headed for drought. IRI’s seasonal precipitation forecast map issued in November […]

Managing Water in a Dry Land

The Elqui River basin in Chile’s Coquimbo region is one of the driest places on Earth. It receives only about 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain each year, and most of it during one short rainy season. The rainfall isalso highly variable. In some years, the region will get close to zero rainfall, while in […]

Rising Tides and Shrimp from the Banks of the Amazon Forest

A team of scientists from the Earth Institute, including IRI’s Katia Fernandez, have come to the Amazon delta to find out how communities are adapting. The researchers want to understand how the climate is changing, and how they can help with better forecasting and strategies for adaptation as part of a project titled, “Socio-Cultural Adaptations of […]

Predicting the Future of Soy in South America

By Elisabeth Gawthrop, Climate and Society ’13 During the 20th century, southeastern South America experienced a soybean boom due in part to increased summer rainfall. Soybean prices have been so high that farmers are planting this crop in areas that were traditionally considered marginal. Why rainfall increased remains unclear. Human-induced climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion […]

Climate Services: A Regional Perspective

This is the second of ten interviews with climate and development experts conducted at the International Conference on Climate Services, held at Columbia University in October 2011. Patricia Ramirez is the Director of Meteorology and Climate for the Regional Water Resources Committee, which is based in Costa Rica. She wants to work more with the international […]

Climate change threatens a fragile ecosystem in the Andes

In the Andes mountains of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, tucked between the tree line and the line of permanent snow, is the páramo, a unique and hauntingly beautiful mountainous wetland that is threatened by climate change and growing temperature extremes. The páramo of the Northern Andes is wet and cold. Temperatures can dip below […]

‘Democratizing’ Seasonal Forecasts in Latin America

A central tenet of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society is that providing people and institutions with climate information is just one step in a larger effort. There’s also a clear need to build the capacity of scientists to generate tailored information — and to help users ask for information relevant to them. […]

Climate Risks in Haiti

In this Q+A, IRI staffers discuss some of the climate-related risks that could affect Haitians over the next year as they struggle to rebuild their country after a devastating earthquake in January. Currently, about 1.2 million Haitians are without proper shelter, and an additional 470,000 have been displaced from their homes, according to the U.N. […]