The mountain of science examining climate change continues to grow rapidly, and evidence of its real-world impacts is becoming ever more apparent.

In March, the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report warned of dramatic changes impacting human health, natural ecosystems and global and local economies.

But even as determined measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change become more urgent, significant geographical gaps remain in the research underlying these assessments.

Research Gaps

recent study published in the journal Environmental Research: Climate reveals a pressing need for more information. It found that, while the growing field of attribution science has led to major advances in linking extreme weather with human-induced climate change, there are big differences in the understanding of the impacts on different regions and countries.

One of the report’s authors is Dr Luke Harrington, a senior research fellow at the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington. He said many parts of the world do not have long enough historical records or sufficient high-quality data to predict the kinds and severity of extreme weather events they will endure. For example, there are practically no official records of heatwaves in sub-Saharan Africa, despite it being a “literal hotspot for heatwave activity”.

It is a problem recognised by Dr Caroline Wainwright, a Grantham Institute research fellow at Imperial College London who studies climate variability and change in tropical regions. She said regions such as Europe have “definitely been studied more than places in Africa”, with the result that we do not have a full picture of what’s going on.

Namita Chakma, professor of geography at the University of Burdwan in India, agrees, saying there is a lack of scientific analysis on India due to the paucity of information collected daily from weather stations “and a lack of continuity in the long-term climatic data sets. It is also difficult to study climatic variables at the micro-regional level.”

Read the full article about climate research by Isabella Kaminski at Eco-Business.