Extreme heat in combination with land-cover/land-use change (LCLUC) poses significant challenges for sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Climate change is increasing the duration, intensity, and frequency of extreme heat events throughout the region. In tandem, human activity is driving rapid LCLUC, putting pressure on agricultural production, threatening food security, and challenging livelihood strategies. Extreme heat and LCLUC disproportionately impact women through complex biological, social, economic, and cultural pathways. While numerous studies have leveraged NASA remote sensing (RS) platforms and datasets to study extreme heat exposure and LCLUC processes, we lack a nuanced understanding of extreme heat, interactions with LCLUC, and the acute and differential effects on women in SSA.
Our overarching objective is to provide timely, policy relevant, and evidence-based information that can help support adaptation responses to extreme heat and LCLUC, particularly among women in SSA. We propose to leverage a suite of RS-derived datasets that are underpinned by multiple NASA space-borne platforms and the gold standard of georeferenced demographic survey data to study the relationships between extreme heat, land-cover and land-use change, and maternal reproductive and child health (MRCH) in sub-Saharan Africa. Our research will produce the first fine-grained (0.05°) and longitudinal (1986 - 2016) synthesis of how dynamic interactions between the changing characteristics of extreme heat events, extreme heat exposure, and LCLUC directly and indirectly impact MRCH outcomes across the diverse geography of SSA. By bridging social and environmental science theory and methodologies, we will advance scientific and policy knowledge needed to tackle the risks climate change and LCLUC pose to society. We will achieve this by accomplishing four research objectives:
Measure and map changes in extreme heat event characteristics and exposure: We will produce a region-wide, fine-grained, thirty-year analysis of the changing characteristics of extreme heat events and population exposure to extreme heat across SSA using the most accurate, newly produced daily minimum and maximum temperatures (Tmin and Tmax) and relative humidity (RH) for SSA.
Identify interactions hotspots between extreme heat events characteristics exposure, and LCLUC: We will integrate numerous RS-derived datasets that address different components of LCLUC, including vegetation change, settlement typologies that delineate how populations are distributed across the rural-urban continuum, and livelihood zones, with the output from Objective 1 to assess how interactions between the changing characteristics of extreme heat events and LCLUC drive changes in extreme heat exposure across SSA’s diverse geography.
Quantify the impacts of heat-stress and LCUC on maternal reproductive and child health: We will conduct an individual-level, econometric analysis of the complex impacts of heat-stress and LCLUC on MRCH. To accomplish this, we will combine the outputs from Objectives 1 and 2 with the best standardized, nationally representative, georeferenced demographic survey data in SSA: the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS).
Conduct a High-Resolution Case Study for Nigeria: We will conduct a moderate- and high-resolution replication of Objectives 1-3 in Nigeria. We will partner with International Food Policy Research Institute Nigeria Strategy Support Program (IFPRI NSSP) to ensure the research is responsive to local needs, engage stakeholders, and support policy integration.