Today’s Solutions: November 30, 2021

Researchers from UC Santa Barbara’s Climate Hazards Center have released a new study that identifies how the start of season indicators could predict potential famines.

Two key metrics are used to determine famine risk: availability and accessibility. Availability refers to yields, while accessibility refers to production as well as prices and distribution. Even when yields are strong, fluctuations in price and distribution can significantly impact food availability.

For their study, the researchers used standard economic forecasting models in relation to two aspects of the start of season planting: the timeliness of start of season planting and the amount of rainfall during the first month following planting. When comparing these metrics with grain prices, they found that start of season data increases model accuracy by as much as 25 percent, meaning that the earliest data from a planting season is highly influential in predicting the eventual availability and accessibility of food. Their model was particularly effective in the eastern African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, where the rainy season is shorter.

For example, growth during the first month of planting can provide a reasonable estimate of end of season yields. This early growth is generally what determines grain prices as well, so it is a good measure of later food accessibility.

Using early season metrics to predict famines can help governments and NGOs prepare for food shortages with improved distribution infrastructure and imports. The Climate Hazards Center plans to begin incorporating this start of season prediction model into their reporting as soon as next year to help governments and organizations take advantage of its insights.

Source study: Environmental Research Letters – Sending out an SOS: using start of rainy season indicators for market price forecasting to support famine early warning

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Popcorn may be the next sustainable building material

Popcorn is more than just a tasty snack to munch on while at the movies—it may soon be widely used as a natural and eco-friendly alternative to man made home insulation. Scientists at Göttingen University ... Read More

Want to get students engaged? Consider career-based classes

Students who are engaged in the classroom are more likely to participate and retain more information, but what exactly keeps kids engaged? Researchers from Ohio State University surveyed 20,000 high school students across the US ... Read More

This 3D-printed eye is an eye-conic development for digital prosthetics

According to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, Steve Verze, a 47-year-old engineer from Hackney, has been the fortunate recipient of the world’s first 3D printed eyeball. He first tried the eye on for size earlier ... Read More

Senegal’s only circus troupe helps homeless children get off the streets

Senegal has exactly one circus troupe: Sencirk—and it was founded by a former child beggar named Modou Touré. Before taking his place as ringmaster of his own circus, Touré, at the age of seven, was ... Read More

New breakthroughs in nutrient-sensing cells

Did you know immune cells can sense nutrients? A new study from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has identified the biological mechanism behind the phenomenon. The type of immune cells with these special abilities are ... Read More

How to stay warm this winter during outdoor social gatherings

Temperatures are dipping and snowflakes are falling, but that doesn’t mean we have to say goodbye to our outdoor social gatherings. Plus, it might not always be safe to gather indoors, and everyone will have ... Read More