Cathy Vaughan, Author at State of the Planet

Cathy Vaughan works in the Latin American program at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society.

Recent Posts

Predicting Rainfall in Senegal and the Sahel

Last week Ousmane Ndiaye, a graduate student at DEES and a graduate research assistant at the IRI, gave his thesis defense to a packed house in Monell. The presentation, entitled “Predictability of the Sahel Climate: Seasonal Sahel Rainfall and Onset over Senegal,” considered issues of rainy-season predictability in Ndiaye’s home country. It also earned him… read more

by |May 26, 2010

IRI Uses Climate Information to Help Prepare for Disasters

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society is starting to get serious about the use of climate information to inform disaster preparedness and management. This includes efforts growing from the IRI’s Partnership to Save Lives with the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent Socieities, as well as those related to the upcoming Climate and… read more

by |May 14, 2010

Climate Bill Released

Senators Kerry and Lieberman unveiled their comprehensive energy and climate change legislation, the American Power Act, at a press conference today. Kerry claims the bill will set achievable reduction targets while creating huge benefits for American consumers. Though a more comprehensive analysis is certainly warranted, for now we’ll just stick to highlights of the 987-page… read more

by |May 12, 2010

Year Without a Summer? Not this Time.

You may have heard about the Year Without the Summer, 1816, when severe climate anomalies linked to the eruption of Indonesia’s Mt Tambora provoked widespread famine, the westward expansion of the United States, the invention of the bicycle, and Frankenstein. So epic, so influential: Tales of the dramatic climate impacts of that fateful year got… read more

by |April 26, 2010

El Niño Begins to Dissipate

Though weak El Niño conditions still exist, it appears that the climatic phenomenon that developed over the course of last summer has finally begun to dissipate. As reported earlier, El Niño is the name given to sustained sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies greater than 0.5°C across the central tropical Pacific Ocean. It is the warm… read more

by |April 15, 2010

Studying the Impacts of Climate on High-Altitude Ecosystems

Columbia University researchers Laia Andreu Hayles and Daniel Ruiz Carrascal traveled to Colombia last month to investigate the impact of climate on high-altitude ecosystems in the Andes. Supported by the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Climate Center, Andreu and Ruiz are exploring the potential of several high-altitude tree species to reveal information about past climate variability and… read more

by |March 29, 2010

Potential El Nino Impacts

The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) has recently released a series of documents designed to walk policymakers through the potential impacts of the current El Niño. In addition to the health-related report featured earlier, two new papers highlight weather and socioeconomic concerns associated with current climatic conditions. As readers of this blog… read more

by |October 23, 2009

El Niño Conditions Imminent

According to Tony Barnston at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, El Niño conditions are now evolving in the tropical Pacific. El Niño is the name given to sustained sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies greater than 0.5°C across the central tropical Pacific Ocean; it is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern… read more

by |June 25, 2009

East African Drought Linked to Climate Change?

When African finance and environmental ministers met last month to discuss climate-related challenges to the Millennium Development Goals, East African rains were on the agenda. Millions of Kenyans currently face food shortages as a result of successive failed rains, and periodic droughts cost the region 5-8% of GDP. A look at the climatology reveals that… read more

by |June 19, 2009

Climate and Meningitis in Africa

We hear a lot about the impact of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa. But if you’re keeping track, you may as well add bacterial meningitis to the list of nasty diseases that plague the continent. Bacterial meningitis is an infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord, known as… read more

by |June 9, 2009