Tag Archives: eastern africa

Scientists Explore Roots of Future Tropical Rainfall

Analysis of the Last Glacial Maximum sheds light on climate models’ ability to simulate tropical climate change

How will rainfall patterns across the tropical Indian and Pacific regions change in a future warming world? Climate models generally suggest that the tropics as a whole will get wetter, but the models don’t always agree on where rainfall patterns will shift in particular regions within the tropics.

A new study, published online May 19 in the journal Nature Geoscience, looks to the past to learn about the future of tropical climate change, and our ability to simulate it with numerical models. (more…)

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Study Provides New Insights on Drought Predictions in East Africa

Research May Also Help Determine Effects of Global Warming in the Region

With more than 40 million people living under exceptional drought conditions in East Africa, the ability to make accurate predictions of drought has never been more important. In the aftermath of widespread famine and a humanitarian crisis caused by the 2010-2011 drought in the Horn of Africa—possibly the worst drought in 60 years— researchers are striving to determine whether drying trends will continue.

While it is clear that El Niño can affect precipitation in this region of East Africa, very little is known about the drivers of long-term shifts in rainfall. However, new research described in the journal Nature helps explain the mechanisms at work behind historical patterns of aridity in Eastern Africa over many decades, and the findings may help improve future predictions of drought and food security in the region. (more…)

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Burtele Foot Indicates Lucy Not Alone

*Discovery of partial foot skeleton could mean hominin species lived side by side*

A new fossil discovery from Eastern Africa called the Burtele foot indicates Australopithecus afarensis, an early relative of modern humans, may not have been the only hominin to walk the plains and woodlands of what is now the Afar region of Ethiopia some 3.4 million years ago.

Researchers openly have questioned whether Au. afarensis, the species to which the famous fossil “Lucy” belongs, was the only living hominin during the late Pliocene of Africa. Lucy’s bones provided evidence that she and perhaps other early hominins may have walked upright, but whether or not she was the sole hominin species in her particular geologic time scale has been the subject of much debate. (more…)

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New Understanding of How Humans and the Environment Interact

*National Science Foundation Grants Awarded for Research on Coupled Natural and Human Systems*

Water quality and environmental health in Botswana; wetlands in a working landscape; the collapse of the ancient Maya and what that has to tell us about society and environmental change today.

These and other projects that address how humans and the environment interact are the focus of $21 million in National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to scientists, engineers and educators across the country to study coupled natural and human systems. (more…)

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More Frequent Drought Likely in Eastern Africa

The increased frequency of drought observed in eastern Africa over the last 20 years is likely to continue as long as global temperatures continue to rise, according to new research published in Climate Dynamics.

This poses increased risk to the estimated 17.5 million people in the Greater Horn of Africa who currently face potential food shortages. (more…)

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