Science summary: The drought in Kenya, 2016–2017

Kenya is currently suffering from a drought, which has triggered a national emergency as of April 2017. The drought threatens health and local food security. Scientists with Climate Central, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the University of Oxford – as part of the World Weather Attribution (WWA) partnership, which also includes Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and the University of Melbourne – conducted a real-time attribution analysis to see whether and to what extent human-induced climate change has played a role in this drought in Kenya.

The rapid/real-time analysis conducted by WWA in Kenya is part of the Raising Risk Awareness project, a pilot project delivered in collaboration with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) using state-of-the-art science to increase understanding of the role of climate change in extreme weather events and prepare for future ones.

The results indicate that the temperatures involved in this drought are hotter than they would have been without the influence of climate change. The results do not detect a strong climate change signal in the rainfall trend, but the team cannot exclude small changes in the risk of poor rains linked to climate change.

Read the science summary here: The drought in Kenya, 2016–2017

Kenya is highly vulnerable to drought. Only 20% of the country receives high and regular rainfall. The remaining 80% is characterised as arid and semi-arid lands where rainfall is highly variable and drought is a regular feature of the climate. The arid and semi-arid lands house more than half of all livestock in Kenya and more than a quarter (30%) of the population; these are among the most vulnerable populations to rainfall variability and drought.

Science Summary: Heat wave in Phalodi, India, 19 May 2016

On Thursday 19 May 2016, India experienced an all-time record high temperature for any calendar day. The high temperature reached 51°C in the city of Phalodi in the Jodhpur district of the state of Rajasthan. By some accounts it was the third-highest temperature ever documented globally. It was so hot that many residents of this city of about 50,000 simply remained indoors. Those who did venture outside in Gujarat’s Valsad found their sandals sticking to molten roads.

Temperatures were high across much of Rajasthan on that day, with a majority of stations recording maximum temperatures above 46°C. The state capital of Jaipur saw its hottest day in the past 11 years, with a maximum temperature of 46.5°C, while Delhi, India’s capital, reached 46.8°C.

The Raising Risk Awareness Project – delivered by CDKN with the World Weather Attribution initiative – undertook an analysis of whether human-induced climate change had contributed to the heat wave event – to inform decision-makers whether such  heat waves are more likely to happen in the future. The analysis found that:

  • Consistent with human-caused climate change, annual mean temperatures across India are increasing.
  • Heat waves in a relatively small area of India are becoming more frequent and more intense, but this is not true for most of the country.
  • On 19 May 2016, the city of Phalodi in Rajasthan set an all-time record for any calendar day, hitting 51°C.
  • This analysis used peer-reviewed methods to see if climate change is affecting the risk of record heat like that on 19 May 2016 in north-western India, and like that of a similar one-day heat event in Andhra Pradesh in May 2015.
  • The analysis did not find that human-induced climate change played a role in these individual heat waves. This runs counter to studies done on similar extreme heat events in other parts of the world.
  • The lack of a detectable climate change trend may be due to the masking effect of aerosols on warming, and on irrigation use.

The Governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia in 2009 signed the Mid-Atlantic Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Conservation.

The State of Climate-­Informed Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP) is a science-based, collaborative process used to sustainably manage resources, interests, and activities among diverse coastal and ocean users and sectors. Climate change is affecting marine and coastal ecosystems throughout the world, manifesting in warming air and sea temperatures, increasing coastal storms, and rising sea levels. The existing and projected impacts of climate change and ocean acidification need to be incorporated into planning processes to ensure long-term success. Because CMSP is an emerging field, it is important to look to other coastal and marine planning and management frameworks to identify opportunities for climate-informed action.

With the support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, EcoAdapt created the Climate-Informed CMSP Initiative to examine the connections between climate change and coastal and marine planning. This included conducting a needs assessment survey to identify what practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into their planning efforts, as well as research into the state of climate-informed CMSP efforts with the intention of identifying case study examples of adaptation in action. Our key research questions included:

  1. How is climate change currently being integrated into CMSP-related efforts?
  2. How can climate-informed CMSP be done?
  3. What do practitioners need in order to integrate climate change into CMSP?

Citizens' Climate Lobby exists to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.  CCL's carbon fee and dividend legislative proposal is explained at citizensclimatelobby.org.  

Citizens’ Climate Education’s Mission is to educate the public, media, volunteers and members of Congress on climate change solutions.  www.citizensclimateeducation.org  A 501(c)3 non-profit.

Developing a marine spatial plan on Washington’s Pacific Coast

Location

United States
47° 8' 8.844" N, 124° 15' 19.3356" W
US
Summary: 

Washington State is currently developing a marine spatial plan (MSP) for its Pacific Coast. The process includes compiling data, evaluating the marine ecosystem, and engaging stakeholders, and is guided by state law RCW 43.372. The law outlines key elements any marine management plan in the state must follow and requires such plans to address projected impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, on coastal and marine systems.

The Partnership is a forum that allows all interested parties the opportunity to discuss mutual interests, goals, and responsibilities. 

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

The Working Group II contribution to the AR5 (WGII AR5) has 30 chapters, a Technical Summary, and a Summary for Policymakers. The WGII AR5 considers the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation. The chapters of the report assess risks and opportunities for societies, economies, and ecosystems around the world.

Adaptation Workbook

Location

United States
47° 6' 52.5888" N, 88° 32' 50.6724" W
US
Tool Overview: 

AdaptationWorkbook.org is a new web-based tool for land management and conservation. The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions. The Workbook provides users with a flexible, logical process to consider climate change information and design their own customized management actions that can help achieve their management objectives.

The ADVANCE Approach - Co-generating and integrating climate risk information to build resilience for conservation, development, and disaster risk reduction

ADVANCE is a partnership between World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR) at The Earth Institute. Launched in 2015, ADVANCE facilitates planning and decision-making by providing new ways of generating and integrating climate risk information into conservation, development, and disaster management policy and practice.