Denis Muthike Headshot
Research Associate

Dr. Denis M. Muthike manages research and implementation of climate projects in East Africa focused on drought and flood resilience. He oversees the implementation of the Drought Resilience Impact Platform (DRIP) project funded by NASA, USAID, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and manages collaborations for DRIP extension in the IGAD region funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He also leads MCGE efforts in Rwanda to co-implement the NASA SERVIR funded flood forecasting research project in support of rural transportation infrastructure development program implemented by the NGO Bridges to Prosperity.

Prior to joining the Mortenson Center, Denis was the SERVIR Weather and Climate Thematic Lead at the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) overseeing applied research in support of SERVIR services in the eastern and southern Africa (ESA) region. He has committed most of his early career finding solutions that strengthen climate adaptation for marginalized and vulnerable communities in the ESA region by leveraging climate science, earth observations, collaborations, training, and mentorship. He has overseen the design of methods, implementation, and scaling of climate risk mapping projects resulting in thematic products and localized climate adaptation plans. He has led these services for lake basin communities, rangelands communities, river water basin communities, agricultural communities, and disaster risk reduction programming in the ESA region.

Denis pioneered a comprehensive regional training program for women in climate action institutions to improve their capacity to use technologies and influence gender sensitive climate policies, programs, and interventions. He is a recipient of the Global Engineering and Resilience Professional Award, SERVIR Individual Excellence Award and a Hult Prize recognition for mentorship.


  • PhD, Environmental Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
  • MSc, Climate Change, Dept of Meteorology, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • BSc, Environmental Science, Environmental Dept, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Recent Publications

  • Macharia, D., Mugabo, L., Kasiti, F., Noriega, A., MacDonald, L., & Thomas, E. (Accepted). Streamflow and flood prediction in Rwanda using machine learning and remote sensing in support of rural first-mile transport connectivity. Frontiers in Climate Risk Management.
  • Macharia, D., Ouma, G., Oludhe, C., Misiani, H., Wahome, A., & Mugo, R (2023). Projected rainfall and temperature anomalies expected to worsen social vulnerability in Kenya. Authorea (Preprint).
  • Macharia, D., Fankhauser, K., Selker, J. S., Neff, J. C., & Thomas, E. A. (2022). Validation and Intercomparison of Satellite-Based Rainfall Products over Africa with TAHMO In Situ Rainfall Observations. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 23(7), 1131-1154.
  • Fankhauser, K., Macharia, D., Coyle, J., Kathuni, S., McNally, A., Slinski, K., & Thomas, E. (2022). Estimating groundwater use and demand in arid Kenya through assimilation of satellite data and in-situ sensors with machine learning toward drought early action. Science of the Total Environment, 831, 154453.
  • Macharia, D., MacDonald, L., Mugabo, L., Donovan, K., Brooks, W., Gudissa, S., ... & Thomas, E. (2022). Mixed methods study design, pre-analysis plan, process evaluation and baseline results of trailbridges in rural Rwanda. Science of the Total Environment, 838, 156546.
  • Petiteville, I., Eddy, A., Towashiraporn, P., Wang, K., & Macharia, D. (2022). The GEO‐DARMA Framework as a Mechanism for Future Increased Use of Satellite Data in Pursuit of Global Domestic Resource Mobilization Goals. Earth Observation Applications and Global Policy Frameworks, 197-207.
  • Shukla, S., Macharia, D., Husak, G. J., Landsfeld, M., Nakalembe, C. L., Blakeley, S. L., ... & Way-Henthorne, J. (2021). Enhancing access and usage of earth observations in environmental decision-making in Eastern and Southern Africa through capacity building. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5, 504063.
  • Shukla, S., McEvoy, D., Hobbins, M., Husak, G., Huntington, J., Funk, C., ... & Verdin, J. (2017). Examining the value of global seasonal reference evapotranspiration forecasts to support FEWS NET’s food insecurity outlooks. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56(11), 2941-2949.
  • Macharia, D., Kaijage, E., Kindberg, L., Koech, G., Ndungu, L., Wahome, A., Mugo, R. (2020). Mapping Climate Vulnerability of River Basin Communities in Tanzania to Inform Resilience Interventions. Sustainability. 12. 10.3390/su12104102. 
  • Voigt, Stefan, Fabio Giulio-Tonolo, Josh Lyons, Jan Kučera, Brenda Jones, Tobias Schneiderhan, Gabriel Platzeck et al. "Global trends in satellite-based emergency mapping." Science 353, no. 6296 (2016): 247-252.
  • de Sherbinin, A., Bukvic, A., Rohat, G., Gall, M., McCusker, B., Preston, B., Apotsos, A., Fish, C., Kienberger, S., Muhonda, P., Wilhelmi, O., Macharia, D., Shubert, W., Sliuzas, R., Tomaszewski, B., Zhang, S. (2019). Climate vulnerability mapping: A systematic review and future prospects. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 10. 10.1002/wcc.600. 
  • Funk, C., Davenport, F., Galu, L., Pomposi, C., Macharia, D., Husak, G., Faka, D. (2018). Anthropogenic Enhancement of Moderate-to-Strong El Niño Events Likely Contributed to Drought and Poor Harvests in Southern Africa During 2016. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 99. 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0112.1. 
  • Thomas, E., Needoba, J., Kaberia, D., Butterworth, J., Adams, E., Oduor, P., Macharia, D., Mitheu, F., Mugo, R., Nagel, C. (2019). Quantifying increased groundwater demand from prolonged drought in the East African Rift Valley. Science of The Total Environment. 666. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.206.