High-frequency climate variability is one of the most common features associated with climatic zones and yet, one of the least understood aspects of climate sciences, and unsurprisingly, one of the least implemented aspects of climate sciences in the realm of climate adaptation and policy. Semi-arid belts of the world, characterized by low and large variations in rainfall, provide some of the best test beds for studying high-frequency climate variability, which operate primarily through a land-vegetation-atmosphere feedback in these regions. In this talk I will present an interdisciplinary approach- combining high-resolution natural archives and human societal archives-that together provide a framework for characterizing modes of climate variability as well as determining associated frequency of climate disasters and resultant human impacts (mortality, unemployment, loss of lives and employment). I will present three case studies - in the Sahel region of Africa, in the southwest United States and in peninsular India. In case of the Sahel and southwestern United States, I will show paleoclimate data demonstrating climate variability (particularly related to land-vegetation feedback). In case of peninsular India, I will focus on information related to climate disasters and climate impacts from institutional archival data spanning the last two centuries and will tie that information to published works of natural archives in the region. In conclusion, I will discuss how study of natural and human archives together can be combined to gain insight into climate adaptation in response to GHG warming during the 21st century.
CU Boulder, Instructor Environmental Studies, INSTAAR Affiliate
Director of the Global Environmental
Affairs Certificate Program