Much of the tropics experience a strong seasonal cycle of rainfall, with marked wet and dry seasons. These seasons are of key societal importance to populations across the global tropics, impacting sectors including agriculture, health and energy. Recent declines in seasonal rainfall across Eastern Africa are linked with decreasing food security and other challenges. Yet, future projections suggest an increase in rainfall over Eastern Africa. This discrepancy between recent trends and future projections is known as the East Africa Climate Change Paradox. Furthermore, climate models used to produce projections under future climate do not capture the correct seasonal cycle over Eastern Africa, leading to questions on the reliability of projections. This adds to the challenges around communication of future projections over the region. In other regions, changes during the dry seasons may present challenges for perennial crops, including cocoa.
About the speaker
Caroline is based at the Grantham Institute, and her research is on topics around exploring climate change-related risk for populations whose livelihoods are strongly dependent on seasonal rainfall, predominantly focused on Africa. She completed her PhD at the University of Reading, during which she developed a methodology for quantifying the seasonal cycle and analysed future projections of changing precipitation seasonality over Africa. Since then, she has worked on a range of projects, including research on rainfall seasonality (including recent trends and model representation) over East Africa, sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasting over East and West Africa, and changing climatic suitability for cocoa growth across Africa and South America (in collaboration with Mars-Wrigley confectionery). Previously, she completed her BSc in Mathematics with Geography at the University of Exeter and an MSc in Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate at Reading.