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Climate Change, State Fragility and the New CHIRPS Dataset

Syria migration

Reuters/Rodi Said

By Dr. Colin Kelley, Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

In order to better understand the nexus linking climate change and state fragility, we need to better grasp the effects of climatic changes, particularly in rainfall and temperature, at the regional, national and subnational levels, and what they mean for resource availability.  Enter a new data product called CHIRPS.

The USAID Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), in conjunction with scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara, recently developed a new precipitation dataset in support of drought monitoring called CHIRPS (Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data). CHIRPS has already been utilized successfully for this purpose, but also has other far reaching implications that will be important for better understanding of subnational to global security dynamics. These include an improved characterization of resilience in regions and states that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and variability. (more…)

Attention Peacekeepers: Climate Data Important for Fragile States

Nigerian navy Cmdr. Godffrey Kwetishe fills a weather balloon with helium (U.S. Navy photo by John Stratton)

Nigerian navy Cmdr. Godffrey Kwetishe fills a weather balloon with helium (U.S. Navy photo by John Stratton)

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) has issued a new report, Accessing and Using Climate Data and Information in Fragile, Data-Poor States. In the report, the authors Simon Mason, Andrew Kruczkiewicz, Pietro Ceccato and Alec Crawford do a fantastic job of bringing to light an overlooked aspect of conflict-ridden and fragile states: accessing and using climate data. The report lists numerous examples, including how weather forecasting was banned by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and how weather information gathering capabilities in Rwanda diminished after the genocide. The report also includes recommended actions for peace-building practitioners to avoid such gaps in the future. Worth a read.  (more…)

Data Wizards: The Heroes of the 21st Century?

Photo approved for release by MC1(AW/SW) Michael W. Pendergrass, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic, (757) 444-4199 ext 322The difference between data and practical data can be vast – and can mean the difference between lives lost and lives saved. Indeed, a lot of the data that is used, analyzed and discussed in the academic research worlds rarely finds its way to either policy-makers or practitioners. And if it does, it is often misunderstood, not understood at all, or met with ambivalence. That’s why effective data presentation is so important – especially in the context of increased climate-related risks. But access to raw data sets is also important, as it gives different institutions (and people) with different mandates, missions and needs the flexibility to utilize and interpret data in a way that is most useful for advancing their work, or meeting their specific needs. A few recent articles tackle these two separate but interrelated issues. (more…)

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