GW4 WSA Webinar Series 2021: Drought in the Greater Horn of Africa: past, present and future

9 April 2021, 2.30 PM - 9 April 2021, 3.30 PM

Dr David MacLeod


The GW4 WSA is running a weekly webinar series for the academic year 2020-2021. The series features a guest speaker each week and is aimed at stimulating discussion and knowledge exchange between academics, researchers, water professionals and students.

 Much of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) is semi-arid, despite its tropical location. Droughts are part of natural climate variability, and diverse evidence from paleoclimate and anthropology points to the periodic occurrence of megadroughts leading to famine and the fall of kingdoms. More recently drought has increased in frequency, exacerbating food insecurity for many in the region. Warming of the Pacific has been implicated in this trend, though the extent to which this can attributed to anthropogenic influence is debated. However, standing in direct contrast to this drying trend are the 21st century projections from climate models which consistently project increasing rainfall.
In this talk, David MacLeod will review the history and future of drought in GHA. He will discuss the latest understanding of the drivers of recent and future trends, and present latest efforts by research and humanitarian organizations to build societal resilience to droughts and their associated impacts.


About David MacLeod

 My research expertise includes climate science and predictability from days to decades, the use uncertain information for humanitarian decision-making and data visualisation. In September 2020 he joined the University of Bristol, contributing to the H2020 project DOWN2EARTH: making climate information relevant for water security. My most recent previous work involved the development of early warning systems for flooding and drought in Kenya and the Greater Horn of Africa, alongside partners in the Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Meteorological Department and the National Flood and Drought Monitoring Authority.

Other research interests include:

-Improvement of the modelling systems used to make seasonal predictions through better representation of uncertainty in soil hydrology
-Developing forecast visualisation tools and modelling systems for the wind energy industry.
-Quantifying the uncertainty involved in making climate-driven forecasts for malaria, on seasonal and decadal scales.

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