UP takes lead with research on climate and malaria

Posted on September 14, 2010

Dr Jane Olwoch from the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology (GGM) at the University, in collaboration with a consortium of top international scientists, was recently successful in an application for European Union funding under the FP7 framework.

The three year project was launched at the University of Liverpool, England in June this year, will look at the role of climate and climate change in health in southern, central and western Africa. Of particular importance to the UP team is malaria, and especially how the distribution of malaria is affected by climatological variables such as temperature and rainfall.

The Department of GGM has purchased a powerful computer that will be used for fine resolution climate model simulations over various parts of Africa. A state-of-the-art regional climate model from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, called WRF, will be used. The computer simulations performed by Prof Hannes Rautenbach, also from GGM, will provide answers on the regional distribution of the current climate, even over places with no observational records.

The most recent projections from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change initiative will then be “downscaled” at UP to generate computer simulated projections of future regional climate under conditions of greenhouse warming. Dr Olwoch will link these climate projections to the world’s best malaria model in an effort to project the future distribution of malaria in Africa.

The international project team will engage with scientists and communities in Malawi, Sudan and Ghana throughout the length of the project.

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