A Climate Scientist’s View of a Famine’s Roots

Outlet: The New York Times Company

August 3, 2011

Chris Funk, who is in the Climate Hazard Group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is affiliated with the U.S. Geological Survey, has a compelling commentary on the roots of the famine in southern Somalia on the Nature Web site under the headline “We Thought Trouble Was Coming.” It describes his research linking a warming Indian Ocean — when combined with La Niña conditions — with reductions in crucial rainfall from March to June in East Africa. But more important, it describes the value of the integrated analysis being done by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, organized by the United States Agency for International Development, to try to cut the chances that a drought like the present one could spawn a famine…

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