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Are We Entering an Age of Mega-Fires?

For millennia, people have set fires to clear land for cultivation, pastures or hunting; so-called slash-and-burn agriculture is still common across much of tropical Africa, Asia and South America. It has been a useful strategy, but it is now becoming problematic. A new Earth Institute story and documentary, shot in the Peruvian Amazon, follows the […]

Climate Services event at COP-17

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society will be hosting a panel event at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Durban, South Africa from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9. The panelists will discuss the recent creation of the Climate Services Partnership, which was the main outcome of the recent International […]

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 […]

International Climate Services

Easily accessible and timely climate information can help societies not only limit the economic and social damage caused by climate-related disasters, but also take advantage of opportunities provided by favorable conditions. Climate services are meant to fill this need. The IRI and the Earth Institute, along with NOAA, Germany’s Climate Services Center, the UK Met […]

Welcome Back, La Niña

Well it’s nearly official: La Niña is making her second appearance this year. After a few months’ hiatus this summer, ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific have dipped back below normal. Does that mean we’ll also see a return of the extreme global weather of this past winter blamed on La Niña? It’s possible but not […]

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 […]

Fears of a Double Dip…La Niña

What do the economy and tropical ocean temperatures have in common? They’re both exhibiting patterns very similar to 2008. At the International Research Institute for Climate and Society’s monthly climate briefing, chief forecaster Tony Barnston focused more on the latter. He laid out the past and the present and what clues they provide about the future. The […]

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 […]

Climate Information Crucial to Help Reduce Risk and Limit Disaster Damage

Forecasts can play an invaluable role when used properly in helping humanitarian agencies and governments plan for and prevent disasters, according to the latest Climate and Society publication launched by the IRI and the American Red Cross last week in Washington D.C. Climate and weather disasters, from the massive floods in Pakistan, Australia and Colombia, to the […]

Climate Smart Public Health

What do hot summer days in Beijing and heavy rains in rural Colombia have in common? Both are climate events that can trigger a host of public health calamities. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ways that climate and health interact. Despite strong connectivity between the two disciplines, […]

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