As part of the “The Big Question” series, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar Josh Busby answers the question “What in your field could make the world a better place?” in this article featured on the University of Texas website.
A vaccine for AIDS or a microbe that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would undoubtedly change people’s lives for the better. While these breakthroughs may be a long way off, the Strauss Center’s current work on climate change vulnerability in Africa has the potential to protect millions of lives, writes Professor Busby. This research focuses on identifying areas in Africa where extreme weather and changing rainfall patterns and temperatures will endanger the lives of many people. Maps of population vulnerability allow countries to prioritize resources and prepare for potentially disastrous climate shocks in the areas most at risk.
Professor Busby and the Strauss Center are working with scientists from the Jackson School of Geosciences to develop a regional climate model for Africa. Policy-makers could utilize the projections of this model to plan for and adapt to changing climate conditions.
Professor Busby concludes that the ultimate goal of this research is to provide transparent and user-friendly information online, which would allow people to conduct analyses based on their own experience and intuition.