east africa Archives - State of the Planet

Photo Essay: Seeking Humanity’s Roots

East Africa’s rift valley is considered by many to be the cradle of humanity. In the Turkana region of northwest Kenya, researchers Christopher Lepre and Tanzhuo Liu of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are cooperating with colleagues to study questions of human evolution, from the creation of the earliest stone tools to climate swings that have affected developing civilizations.

by |June 8, 2016

Did the Oceans Influence Human Evolution?

Scientists often invoke climate as a possible factor in human evolution; but only recently have they developed the ability to get enough information about past climates and related fossil evidence to see any details. A half-dozen leading paleontologists and climate scientists discussed recent advances in a symposium this week at the annual meeting of the… read more

by |February 17, 2012

East Africa Drought Is “Exceptional”

Climate scientist Simon Mason talks about the drought and the role of climate information in disaster preparedness and response.

by |January 9, 2012

The Role of Drought in the Horn of Africa Famine

Let’s get this out of the way. The current famine in the Horn of Africa isn’t caused by drought. Rather, a complex mix of societal and political factors created a dangerous situation. The worst drought in 60 years (pdf) is what pushed that situation over the edge into a humanitarian crisis. However, just as these… read more

by |August 1, 2011