State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Climate Underpinnings of East Africa Drought

In the coming weeks, experts at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society will lend their perspectives on the East Africa drought and its impacts in a series of brief video interviews. The first one, with climate scientist Brad Lyon, is available below. Lyon gives an overview of the climate conditions leading up to the 2010-11 drought. He says there’s a chance of La Niña forming later in the year, which could have devastating consequences for a region already plagued by widespread famine:

“…not a certainty at this point, but that’s how conditions look at the moment. Unfortunately this does not bode well for the short-rain season in East Africa. It isn’t necessarily a 1-to-1 relationship that La Niña conditions will guarantee that rainfall will be substandard, but it isn’t a particularly good sign, at least at this point. We’ll have to monitor closely what the state of La Niña does this coming fall.”

Next up in the series will be Pietro Ceccato discussing the use of remote sensing to monitor the drought in Somalia, and Daniel Osgood on the role that index insurance is playing in farming and herding communities in the region. Check our video page regularly, or follow developments on Twitter: @climatesociety.

Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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