Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Forecasting Systems Help Predict Malaria Risk In Africa

Date:
February 24, 2006
Source:
The Earth Institute At Columbia University
Summary:
A recent study published in Nature shows that climate forecasts can help predict malaria epidemics many months in advance. These predictions can alert health service managers to changes in epidemic risk five months before the peak malaria season and four months earlier than predictions based on actual rainfall.

The Center for National Health Development in Ethiopia leads a demonstration on the proper use of a mosquito net, which can greatly reduce incidences of malaria.
Credit: Image courtesy of The Earth Institute At Columbia University

A recent study published in Nature shows that climate forecasts can help predict malaria epidemics many months in advance. These predictions can alert health service managers to changes in epidemic risk five months before the peak malaria season and four months earlier than predictions based on actual rainfall.

The study appears in the February 2 issue of Nature.

Malaria is one of the world's biggest killers, taking the lives of more than one million people and infecting an estimated 500 million every year. Africa is home to 90 percent of all cases.

Climate variability has an important effect on malaria in epidemic-prone areas in Africa, where temperatures and rainfall drive both mosquito and parasite dynamics. In semi-arid Botswana, the National Malaria Control Programme has developed an early-warning system based on population vulnerability, rainfall, and health surveillance to predict and detect unusual changes in the seasonal pattern of disease. The risk of an epidemic in Botswana increases dramatically shortly after a season of good rainfall. Systems developed by the DEMETER project make forecasts of seasonal rainfall for much of southern Africa more reliable.

An important influence on rainfall in this region is the El NiΓ±o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) which impacts the occurrence of epidemic and non-epidemic years.

By using a number of climate models the researchers were able to consider the uncertainties in the predictions which could then be expressed reliably as probabilities. Overall, the researchers' findings show that these probabilistic climate forecasts can be combined and used effectively in malaria forecasting.

According to the study, these forecasts can provide health service managers with warnings of changes in epidemic risk five months before the peak malaria season and four months earlier than predictions based on actual rainfall. Following Botswana's lead, integrated early warning systems are now being developed in conjunction with epidemic prevention and response planning activities, in a number of Southern African countries.

"What we have demonstrated in this project, which makes it unique, is the speed at which cutting-edge climate research can be translated into operational activity in Africa," said Madeleine Thomson, research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. "This happened because research activities were linked directly to the operational needs and policy objectives of both the climate and health institutions in the region."

"In Africa malaria causes over a million deaths each year βοΏ½" mostly in young children," said Dr. Charles Delacollette, WHO Global Malaria Programme. "In epidemic prone regions it is a much more indiscriminate cause of death. This study demonstrates that judicious use of climate information is an important factor in reducing the impact of this devastating disease."

The study involved researchers at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University; the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the National Malaria Control Programme in Botswana, and the University of Liverpool.

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society assists countries in their ability to understand, anticipate and manage climate risks, particularly in the developing world. From environmental monitoring and forecasting to climate-related risk management tools and practices in water resources, public health, agriculture, and food security, IRI and its partners focus on opportunities to build capacity for bringing climate information into regional planning and decision-making. The IRI was established and is supported under a joint cooperative agreement between U.S. NOAA Office of Global Programs (U.S. NOAA Climate Office) and Columbia University, and is part of The Earth Institute.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines βοΏ½" earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences βοΏ½" and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit http://www.earth.columbia.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Earth Institute At Columbia University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Earth Institute At Columbia University. "Climate Forecasting Systems Help Predict Malaria Risk In Africa." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060220104615.htm>.
The Earth Institute At Columbia University. (2006, February 24). Climate Forecasting Systems Help Predict Malaria Risk In Africa. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060220104615.htm
The Earth Institute At Columbia University. "Climate Forecasting Systems Help Predict Malaria Risk In Africa." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060220104615.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) — Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) — Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins