IRAP Newsletter September 2017


  • IRAP team members are working on a book chapter entitled ‘Drought Information Service: Background, Process, and Evaluation’.
  • IRAP team members traveled to Ecuador Sept 4-8 for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) review of Regional Outlook Forum. 
  • The Caribbean team held team calls in late September to finalize the work plan and regional activities for the upcoming year.


  • Nachiketa A. and Simon M. are preparing to travel to Bangladesh in October to provide training courses on sub-seasonal predictions. 


  • The IRAP “India Team” has been periodically meeting by phone.
  • The analysis of the Bihar household data is informing the identification and development of climate information; the next step is to query the data at the village and household level.
  • In early September, our contact at RIMES will work to identify anorganization in Bihar that can assist in the intervention, including training, delivery of climate products, convening of farmer field schools, etc. RIMES will help us manage the local team through the intervention period. The intervention could begin as early as October 2017 and continue through the Summer 2018 Monsoon.
  • Jim B. traveled to India in early summer to meet with RIMES, who remain very interested in convening a small “demand workshop” of Tamil Nadu State government planning, finance, disaster, health and Ag officials to determine specifics about their interests in and need for 10-15 year projections of changes in climate variability. The workshop could happen in the fall of 2017.


  • A number of IRAP members at the University of Arizona are submitting a proposal focusing on climate services to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Coupled Natural Human Systems proposal call due in November. The team had submitted last year to generally favorable reviews (but not favorable enough).
  • Andrea G., Chris S. and Zack G. submitted a draft for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Midterm Review in early September. The review consists of 52 interviews, 167 online survey respondents, as well as site visits to Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and Tanzania, and extensive document analysis. The Review Task Team will provide comments, with final draft due at the end of September.
  • The IRAP team will convene for the Fall Team Meeting in New York at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) on Oct 25-27.

IRAP Newsletter August 2017


  • The Coffee Leaf Rush (CLR) team successfully hosted the second of a three-part workshop series in the Blue Mountains between Aug 13-25; the first workshop series was in June. For both the June and August workshops, they hosted 6 workshops in the same 9 communities for a total number of 270 participants. Of the 159 coffee farmers attended the August workshops, 81 had attended the workshop in June, while 78 were first timers. The weather texts are sent twice a week, while the climate texts are sent once a month. Our partners at the Meteorological Service of Jamaica began sending the texts in June and will continue for the next year, using an online platform supported by IRAP. The climate texts contain only the seasonal precipitation and temperature forecast at the moment. In the August workshops, farmers were generally very enthusiastic about receiving the weather texts. They see its value in convenience, supporting of other sources of information, and, as one gentleman stated, “it makes us feel part of a system.” The climate forecasts are new to nearly all participants, leading to interesting discussions around their hypothetical use. The next workshops will occur in early January.
  • Over the next 6 months, the team will routinely communicate with some of the farmers to discuss how they are engaging with the information. Univ. West Indies partners are helping with the data collection and analysis from the phone interviews. The IRAP team completed pilot test run in August, with the goal to reach out to 30 farmers each month.
  • Zack G. et al.’s manuscript to Climatic Change reporting on the focus groups discussions with the Jamaica coffee farmers received a revise and resubmit. The authors resubmitted the manuscript on August 18.
  • Andrea G. et al.’s manuscript to Weather Climate and Society discussing the Climate Outlook process received a revise and resubmit decision. The authors will resubmit by the end of September.
  • Andrea G. and Simon M. are working on a paper on climate outlook forum metrics. They have been working with external researchers at University of Leeds and a wide array of other collaborators.

IRAP Newsletter June 2017

  • The CLR team conducted 6 Community Climate Forums training events for a total of 195 participants from around 9 communities, working with the Coffee Industry Board, Inter-America Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, University of West Indies, and Meteorological Service of Jamaica. The trainings followed a “Facilitators guide” with objectives to (1) Develop a understanding of the available climate information tools; (2) Co-develop an understanding of the connection between the tools and coffee management in order to equip participants to use the tools. The team facilitated a “process of the discovery” predominantly through dialogs that sequentially progressed from discussing how farmers manage coffee to what are weather and climate forecasts to how weather and climate forecasts can inform coffee management. They guided these dialogs and conducted activities to prepare people to receive climate and weather information via a new texting service shepherded by the coffee industry board and the met service and monitored by the CLR team.
  • The weather texts will be sent out to the community twice a week on Monday and Thursday and convey a summary of the 5-day forecasts. Warning alerts for extreme events will go out as needed. The climate forecasts will be sent once a month at the beginning of the month. The weather information provided to these communities is specific to the region and offers a higher resolution than people currently have access to (which are for conditions for Jamaica as a whole).
  • The Community Climate Forums training workshops were very well received by the participants, very few of whom have seen climate forecasts. Consequently, this is a huge challenge to create adequate and responsible knowledge transfer. The CLR Team will be following up with participants throughout the process via phone interviews (~175) and will return in mid-August for the second round of training.
  • A book chapter entitled ‘Drought Information Service: Background, Process, and Evaluation’ co-authored by John Furlow (IRI), Jim B., Simon M., and Glenroy Brown (Meteorological Service of Jamaica) has been completed and submitted. The authors are reviewing and responding to editor’s comments. Zack G. will present on this topic at a meeting in Cape Town, South Africa as funded by the organizers of the book chapter.
  • Simon M. attended the Early Warning Information Systems Across Climate Time Scales (EWISACTS) close out meeting for the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum as an invited participant.


  • Andrea G., Chris S. and Zack G. have been interviewing numerous actors within the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) network for the GFCS Midterm Review. They have plans to visit Senegal, Cote d-Ivoire, and Tanzania between Jun 18-July 3 to discuss regional and national GFCS activities. The report draft will be completed by the end of August.

IRAP Newsletter May 2017


  • Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) team is developing the curriculum/agendas for community workshops, refining climate and weather communication tools (e.g. texts and bulletins), and working to schedule the workshops. The current plan is to conduct 6 workshops for 9 communities in June and again in August and later in the fall.
  • The IRAP team has received a revision of our joint analysis of the capacity of Caribbean National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to provide climate services. We are negotiating with Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) on next steps.
  • Andrea G. and Simon M. are leading an analysis on metrics for measuring progress and outcomes of regional Climate Outlook Forum events. The analysis has been outlined and a number of collaborators, IRAP and beyond, are contributing to the content.
  • The IRAP team provided held heat wave and exceedance probability/flexible forecast training to the Caribbean community leading up to the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) in June.


  • Lisa G., John Furlow (IRI), along with Jim B. and Zack G. met with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) staff in Washington D.C. to discuss IRAP. The discussion also involved A.R. Subbiah, director, RIMES Program Unit, for potential IRAP work that could collaborate through RIMES engagement in India.


  • Simon M. of IRI spent four weeks at the University of Arizona (U of A) and routinely met with several members of the IRAP team at U of A to advance a short academic article discussing evaluation metrics for RCOFs specifically and more generally RCOF-like activities.
  • Diana L. attended a workshop organized by the Stockholm Environment Institute on the Governance of Climate Adaptation in Sweden in May and gave a keynote on Governing Adaptation in the Americas. In early June she attended the second lead authors meeting for the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 ℃.
  • Andrea G., Zack G., and Chris S. presented their methodology for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Mid-Term Review to the Informal Session of the GFCS Management Committee. The methodology was well received. They have begun interviews with numerous actors within the GFCS network.

IRAP Newsletter April 2017

  • IRAP and University of West Indies (UWI) has agreed on the scope of work for the community level workshops that will begin this summer. This creates stronger institutional ties with UWI that began with Kevon Rhiney three years ago
  • From 19-20 April, IRAP hosted a 2-day community facilitator workshop in Spanish Town, Jamaica with 42 participants, including the organizing team. Participants were enthusiastic and are excited about the follow up workshops at their communities. The purpose of the workshop was to introduce tailored climate information to select members of the Blue Mountain coffee farmer community. Members were selected based on their leadership roles and their ability to successfully interact and communicate with their respective community. IICA, CIB, UWI, and ACDI/VOCA also played key roles in the workshop and contributed information related to managing coffee leaf rust specific to their organization.
  • CLR team has planned their first round of community-level workshops for Jun 1-17 2017. They are developing workshop training materials and solidifying routine communication modes so that information will reach farmers. This includes developing a bulletin for extension officers and a text messaging service that directly reaches the end user. They are in the process of developing a manuscript that describes our approach as well as an evaluation of our activities. They also have a Monitoring & Evaluation plan for these workshops.
  • Team continues to develop vulnerability assessment.
  • A complete set of data from the household and village-level surveys in Bihar was received in late April. The team is reviewing it for completeness, and if satisfied will authorize payment of the final installment to the company.
  • Continuing exploration of additional potential projects for IRAP in India: a) Heat Health Service with World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and b) connecting with ongoing Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems for Africa and Asia (RIMES) projects.
  • IRI team is working to finalize the curriculum for upcoming climate literacy training for climate resource person in Bihar, India. IRI DL team also prepared a specific map room for this train materials
  • IRAP is co-authoring a report on heat-related mortality in Bangladesh for the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre. The report is being used to develop a series of outreach activities about heat-health by BBC Media Action in Dhaka, including a video in Bangla (, a series of live Q&As and another video coming shortly by a popular “Youtuber” in Bangladesh.
Team News
  • Team members will spend April 26 – May 17 working with UA members of the IRAP team in Tucson, Arizona. Members of IRAP team are working on a paper about the evaluation of RCOFs, regularly meeting with Simon to take advantage of his time here. The paper builds off the manuscript we recently submitted to Climate, Weather, and Society that focused on the CariCOF.
  • IRAP is finalizing plans for the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) mid-term review.
  • Recent publication: Vigaud, N. and Robertson, A.W. (2017), Convection regimes and tropical-midlatitude interactions over the Intra-American Seas from May to November. Int. J. Climatol. doi:10.1002/joc.5051

IRAP Newsletter March 2017

  • Group calls are being held weekly to plan for the upcoming “training of the trainers” workshop in Jamaica on April 19-20.
  • The Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) team is working towards formalizing a relationship with Dr. Donovan Campbell (UWI Geography faculty member), who will be our local lead during the summer workshop training program.
  • The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH)/University of Arizona (UA) social science group have made progress on a collaborative paper “Fit for Purpose: Assessing the National Meteorology and Hydrology Services capacity for climate services.” UA is awaiting CIMH’s comments on the draft before another round of revisions occurs.

India – Bihar

  • The IRAP-JEEVIKA project in Bihar is progressing as planned. Household and village baseline data collection is complete; analysis to be completed by end of March. Detailed intervention plan, implementation protocols, and a revised concept note being produced by Tauhid R. and Andy R. Specific climate products, mode and medium of provision to be agreed upon around the first of April.
  • A Training of the Trainers is being set up for April/May. JEEVIKA will lead this component. If possible, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Weather Service (NOAA-NWS) International Desk personnel will be invited to be involved.
  • IRI is currently working on “map rooms” for the IRAP-JEEVIKA project. Climate information “intervention” will begin May and will focus on the summer monsoon (which usually begins around mid-June).

India – Other

  • Additional opportunities for IRAP in India are being explored.
  • Hannah N. will attend an IPCC pre-scoping meeting in Nairobi, 5-7th April. The objectives are to guide the IPCC scoping process around framing of risk, involvement of decision- and policy-makers, and focus on the most vulnerable
  • Members of the IRAP team—Andrea G. and Christina G.—will chair two sessions (session 1, session 2) on climate services at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in Boston the first week of April. Other co-conveners are from CLIMAS and UCLA.
  • The World Meteorology Organization (WMO) has asked Andrea G., Chris K., and Zack G. to lead their Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Mid-term Review; the review will occur over a 6 month period. This opportunity reflects well on the work IRAP has done and its reputation. The team is still finalizing the scope of work and contract terms. 

Team News

  • Members of the IRAP teams convened for the annual Spring Meeting March 19-31, 2017 at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Simon M. is planning on spending 3-4 weeks at the UA from April 26 – May 17.

IRAP Newsletter February 2017

  • A clustering of daily Outgoing Longwave Radiation, a proxy for convection, helped identifying three recurrent weather types related to rainfall-producing convective anomalies propagating northwestwards across the Caribbean basin from May to November. These can be traced to the southward incursion of baroclinic waves from the 
midlatitudes, and anticyclonic wave breaking, while higher frequencies of occurrence during MJO phases 1 and 2 suggest a connection with easterly waves emanating from African 
Relationships with hurricanes that created major damages (Opal in 1995, Ivan in 2004, Dennis and Wilma in 2005, Ike in 2008) and archived historical floods illustrate potentials for regional flood risk management. More details on the weather typing analysis can be found in the following publication: Vigaud, N., and A. W. Robertson (2017) Convection regimes and tropical-midlatitude interactions over the Intra-American Seas from May to November, Int. Jour. Climatol., DOI:10.1002/joc.5051
India – Bihar
  • Andy R. and Nachiketa A., visited India for the Integrated Research Applications Program-JEEVIKA project, a joint collaboration with the University of Arizona, February 4-16. They met with scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune and the Director General of Indian Meteorological Department in Delhi regarding future opportunities to share data and install the IRI data library. 
  • While in India, Andy R. and Nachiketa A. also met higher-level officers from the Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS), Government of Bihar and visited several villages to interact with farmers regarding the use of climate information in their farming practices.

India – Other

  • Dr Sahai’s group at International Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in India has indicated an interest in collaborating on heat wave research. Hannah N. is looking into a possible proposal submission for phase 2 of the Indian Monsoon Mission, which will focus on climate applications. 


  • Hannah N. is working on a validation of sub-seasonal forecasts for heat waves in Bangladesh in collaboration with Adrian Tompkins at International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Italy.

  • Diana L. attended the first authors meeting for the IPCC Special Report on the world at 1.5C in Brazil. The group will be working over the next year to assess the pathways to keeping warming below 1.5C, the impacts of a 1.5C warming compared to 2C and above, and the implications of response options that could limit warming to 1.5C and adapt to it.  

IRAP Newsletter January 2017

  • 3 Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) scientists visited the University of Arizona (UA) between Jan 23-27 to work on the the data analysis and writing of the user-needs and meteorological service capacity assessments.
  • The manuscript of the “CariCOF synthesis” is in its final iterations and will be submitted soon.
  • The manuscript of the Jamaica climate and coffee leaf rust analysis (based on the focus group discussions) has been sent to co-authors for feedback.
  • The Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) team has been working on initial versions of a curriculum on the understanding and use of climate information. This curriculum will be part of a more comprehensive extension-level and community-level training program that the team will implement in last spring and summer. Members of the team (Zack G., Teddy A., and Chris K.) will visit to Jamaica on Feb 21-23 (plans are still solidifying) to work with local partners on this curriculum and plan the training program events.
  • Simon M. and Teddy A. have generated a second version of the Jamaica rainfall climatologies using improved methods for representing the effects of altitude. 
  • Hannah N., Simon M. and Teddy A. will shortly begin work on a new project with CIMH to assess the climatology and seasonal predictability of heat wave indicators in the Caribbean, funded by CIMH.
  • Marling Juárez (a master student at the Centro de Modelado Científico-Venezuela), Angel M. and Lisa G. finished a time-scale decomposition analysis for the 8 CMIP5 models that best represent key climatic features (e.g., rainfall seasonality) in Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean. The paper is being written.
  • Data collection and verification by Jeevika is progressing and nearing conclusion.
  • Jim B., Tauhid R., Andy R. and Nachiketa A. are traveling to Bihar to monitor progress and discuss next steps with Jeevika and the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • Hannah N. lectured at a workshop on Climate Impacts on Health in Asia at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi Dec 12-15, 2016. 
  • There has been some positivity movement on the IRAP Bangladesh proposal submitted to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) last year. According to Salem Huq, USAID is interested in the proposal and will be in communication with Dr. Huq about next steps.
  • The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) has been asked by the World Bank to conduct a scoping project to investigate opportunities in climate and health in Bangladesh. Hannah will work on this with Madeleine Thomson (IRI) beginning in April.
  • Hannah N. presented on IRAP-Bangladesh extreme heat research at the the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting on Jan 25 in Seattle, WA.

IRAP Newsletter December 2016

  • Hannah N. and Teddy A. participated in a pre-event training for the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF), organized by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH). On December 2nd, Hannah conducted a remote training session on heat wave early warning systems and development of a heat action plan in the Caribbean. Teddy assisted organizers with various training sessions November 30-December 2. Other attendees were representatives from the Caribbean national meteorological services and CIMH.
  • Elisabeth G. attended the main CariCOF meeting December 5-6, in St. George’s, Grenada. Gawthrop covered the event for CIMH and  interviewed partners regarding the coffee leaf rust (CLR) project in Jamaica.
  • Zack G. delivered a presentation at the Winter 2016 CariCOF on December 7, entitled: “Climate Services and the Role of Social Sciences,” drawing from work from Diana L., Andrea G. and Christina G.
  • At December 2016 CariCOF, Zack G. and CIMH collaborators conducted discussions sessions and participatory activities with 2 met service groups (their main focus) and 4 sectoral stakeholder groups. Andrea G. and Christina G. made vital contributions to the protocols for the discussion session for the met groups in the run-up to the meeting. The activity with the stakeholders allows for better understanding of relevant information that would go into sector specific climate bulletins produced by CIMH. The activity with the met groups was designed to understand the gaps that exist in the capacity of the met services to implement climate services. This insight information will help prioritize strategic investment in enacting the GFCS framework, and will be part of our analysis for the manuscript: “Built for Purpose? The Capacity of Caribbean Climate Service Providers to Implement the GFCS” (tentative title).
  • Zack G. attended project meetings at the December 2016 CariCOF (with CIB, IICA, and JMS) to further the CLR project plan. The CLR team is in the process of iterating on an appropriate curriculum for the trainings.
  • The CLR team is planning to present initial results from the quantitative household survey to Jamaica coffee stakeholders early next year.
Team News
  • Members of CIMH are visiting the University of Arizona IRAP team in January 2017 (week of the 16th) to continue collaboration in social science and work on reporting results.
  • Starting in January 2017, Hannah N. will be providing consulting work for the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) for research on heat wave occurrence in the Caribbean and to help in the development of heat forecast products. 

IRAP Newsletter November 2016

  • Tim F. and Zack G. are completing a draft of a manuscript that describes the opportunities and barriers for climate information to build resilience to stresses Jamaican coffee farmers experience (namely, climate, disease and financial risks). This manuscript will tentatively be sent out to co-authors by the end of 2016. 
  • Andrea G. (and many other coauthors) is finishing a manuscript that articulates a process oriented framework to monitor RCOFs. The paper will be submitted to Regional Environmental Change in January.
  • Christina G. (with CIMH, Andrea G., and Zack G. as co-authors) are completing the first draft of the paper entitle: “Built for Purpose? The Capacity of Caribbean Climate Service Providers to Implement the GFCS”. This reports on an assessment of the climate service providers in the Caribbean, including a survey and focus groups (4 total) conducted at the Dominica and Grenada CariCOFs.
  • The Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) team co-hosted a two-day stakeholder and project partner workshop in Jamaica on Nov 11 and 12. Approximate 20 people added day 1 and ~10 people day two. Day 1 was structured to present and discuss IRAP work. Day 2 was structured to create a partnership to develop and implement a series of capacity building efforts in the BM. Participants on Day 2 included: FAO, ACDI-VOCA, IICA, Coffee Industry Board (CIB), JM Met Service (JMS), University of West Indies (UWI). The capacity building efforts will include a training of the trainers (e.g. extension) workshop and 3 separate community workshops in each of the selected communities; details still need to be worked out. The objectives of these events are to (1) engender awareness and use of climate and weather information and its connection to coffee, (2) help guide the tailoring of climate information, and (3) develop an appropriate and routine communication mechanism. Our partners are making substantial in-kind and financial contributions (IICA), including the funding of the two day workshop, and dedicating personnel to help lead and organize the events (ACDI-VOCA, JMS, CIB).
  • Rutgers University Climate Symposium was held on November 16, 2016 with a climate and health theme. Hannah N. presented a poster on IRAP work: ”Heat health in Bangladesh: defining and predicting heat waves across timescales”
  • Hannah N. presented on IRAP work under the same title: ”Heat health in Bangladesh: defining and predicting heat waves across timescales” at the Columbia University Earth Institute Symposium: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainable Development in a Changing World held on December 8, 2016.
Other Presentations
  • In November 2016 Diana L. participated in a workshop with philanthropists, business sustainability leaders, and UN agencies on Planetary Boundaries in Thailand where she spoke on the importance of social science research in the response to climate.
  • Diana L. was the keynote speaker at Guatemala’s 2nd National Climate Change Conference in October 2016 and spent several days with the Institute for Climate Change Research of Guatemala discussing potential collaborations on climate impacts and services.
  • Diana L. was a plenary speaker on climate knowledge for adaptation at Mexico’s 6th National Congress on Climate Change in October 2016. She also participated in a day long workshop on gender and climate change and met with representatives of INECC (the Mexican National Institute for Environment and Climate Change).

IRAP Newsletter October 2016

  • Zack G. and Tim F. are working on first draft of a manuscript that presents the qualitative results from focus group discussion (FGD), with the working title: “Managing Multiple Stresses: How Context Informs Climate Services for Smallholder Coffee Farming in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains.”
  • Christina G., Andrea G., and Zack G. are working on write-up of Caribbean climate service provider assessment with CIMH applied climatetology group (mainly Roche M., Shelly-Ann C., and Adrian T.).
  • Andrea G. is working on revisions on CariCOF synthesis paper.
  • Christina G., Andrea G., and Zack G. are submitting abstracts to AAG annual meeting session on climate services (organized by Christina G. and Andrea G.).
  • Saleh A. is analyzing Jamaica Coffee Leaf Rust stakeholder interviews.
  • Elisabeth G. released a multimedia feature from November 2015 CariCOF:
  • Teddy A. attended the ACDI-VOCA sponsored Climate Smart Agricultural Symposium from 13-14 Sept in Kingston, Jamaica. He presented information related to the ongoing fire warning index work between IRAP and The Meteorology Service of Jamaica. He also co-presented general IRAP Caribbean work with Elizabeth Johnson from IICA.
  • Teddy A. submitted work entitled, “The late spring Caribbean rain-belt: climatology and dynamics.”, to The International Journal of Climatology.
  • Teddy A. met with members of the national fire warning index steering group at the MSJ on Sept 14. Participants included representatives from MSJ, UWI-Mona, and The University of Technology in Jamaica. Discussions were held to determine the realistic time frame and actions needed to transition the project from design to operations.
Southeast Asia
  • JEEVIKA project team reported that 264 villages ( 132 (flood-prone= T/C|66:66; drought-prone= T/C|66: 66) have been mapped out for the distribution of households. Data collection team has been trained and deployed to the field.The survey instrument has been tested, translated, revised, retranslated (English⇌ Hindi). Data will be entered and checked each day by Andy R. Summary statistics were expected by the end of August. The team is in contact with Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environmental miniseries of India. There is a potential to adapt JEEVIKA-IRAP and replicate in other countries including Bangladesh.
  • Saleh A. is applying for research grants (Social Science Research Council’s International Development Research Fellowship, NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant) that can support his dissertation field research in Bangladesh by next summer (2017).
Team News
  • Sidhnarth Kishore has arrived at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona to continue Ashutosh Kumar’s work with the India team. He is an engineer, has experience with designing IT tools/software for customizing and disseminating climate related information to different stakeholders.
  • Teddy A. and Cedric VanMeerBeek are co-supervising a CIMH intern, Sheldon Grant, visiting from UWI-Mona Physics. The internship began in early September and will end in late November. Together they will be researching rainfall onset variability as a function of transitioning ENSO phases.

IRAP Newsletter August 2016


  • Coffee Leaf Rust household survey interviews have been completed with 420 households (out of a random sample of 522) in 19 communities in the Blue Mountains. The team actually went to 671 households in 22 communities that were identified as coffee growing areas based on available information, but found that there were few coffee farmers in 3 of those communities. The team has begun to analyze the data.
  • CIMH is currently in the demonstration phase to achieve WMO Regional Climate Centre Status. Formal designation is expected in November 2016.


  • Saleh Ahmed presented his field visit summary in a meeting with USAID-Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh Institute of Planners, and Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE)’s Agriculture Information Service, World Fish-Bangladesh.


  • The UA team hosted CIMH delegation at UA in Tucson, Arizona in June 2016.
  • The IRI team hosted a delegation of visitors: Cedric van Meerbeeck (CIMH), Shem Willie (St. Lucia Met Service), Dale Dustin (Antigua and Barbuda Met Services), and Wazita Scott (CIMH) during the month of June 2016. The delegation worked with Hannah Nissan, Teddy Allen, and Simon Mason on a number of topics: initial design and development of seasonal and heat waves forecasting system for the Caribbean, development of a seasonal dry spell frequency forecasting system for the Caribbean, research on drought alerting in the Caribbean using CPT. Visitors from CIMH also worked on initial write-up of a paper on new features of CPT with case studies from the Caribbean.

Team News

  • Two student summer interns from Columbia’s Climate and Society MA program have been working on analyzing heat waves over India, and monsoon onset and sub-seasonal variations in rainfall over Bihar, and examining their sub-seasonal predictability in climate models. They are working with Andrew Robertson, as well as with Hannah Nissan for the heat waves topic.
  • Dr Nachiketa Acharya (City University of New York), new IRAP post-doc starting at IRI on Sept 6 to work on the Jeevika project, visited IRI on July 12. He met with Andrew Robertson and discussed workplanning for climate product development, to be in done partnership with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology (IITM). He will be visiting IRI again for further project discussions on Aug 1, during Tauhid Rahman’s visit.

IRAP Newsletter July 2016

  • Coffee Leaf Rust household survey interviews have been completed with 420 households (out of a random sample of 522) in 19 communities in the Blue Mountains. The team actually went to 671 households in 22 communities that were identified as coffee growing areas based on available information, but found that there were few coffee farmers in 3 of those communities. The team has begun to analyze the data.
  • CIMH is currently in the demonstration phase to achieve WMO Regional Climate Centre Status. Formal designation is expected in November 2016.
  • Saleh Ahmed presented his field visit summary in a meeting with USAID-Bangladesh, International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), Bangladesh Institute of Planners, and Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE)’s Agriculture Information Service, World Fish-Bangladesh.
  • The UA team hosted CIMH delegation at UA in Tucson, Arizona in June 2016.
  • The IRI team hosted a delegation of visitors: Cedric van Meerbeeck (CIMH), Shem Willie (St. Lucia Met Service), Dale Dustin (Antigua and Barbuda Met Services), and Wazita Scott (CIMH) during the month of June 2016. The delegation worked with Hannah NissanTeddy Allen, and Simon Mason on a number of topics: initial design and development of seasonal and heat waves forecasting system for the Caribbean, development of a seasonal dry spell frequency forecasting system for the Caribbean, research on drought alerting in the Caribbean using CPT. Visitors from CIMH also worked on initial write-up of a paper on new features of CPT with case studies from the Caribbean.
Team News
  • Two student summer interns from Columbia’s Climate and Society MA program have been working on analyzing heat waves over India, and monsoon onset and sub-seasonal variations in rainfall over Bihar, and examining their sub-seasonal predictability in climate models. They are working with Andrew Robertson, as well as with Hannah Nissan for the heat waves topic.
  • Dr Nachiketa Acharya (City University of New York), new IRAP post-doc starting at IRI on Sept 6 to work on the Jeevika project, visited IRI on July 12. He met with Andrew Robertson and discussed workplanning for climate product development, to be in done partnership with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute for Tropical Meteorology (IITM). He will be visiting IRI again for further project discussions on Aug 1, during Tauhid Rahman’s visit.

IRAP Newsletter May 2016

  • Jeevika now has a new CEO. Arvind has moved on as the principal secretary of Rural Development, Government of Bihar. The new CEO of Jeevika, D Balamurugun, will report to Arvind.  
  • Tauhid has started work on selecting villages from 4 districts (2 flood prone, 2 drought prone) and met with two potential data collection agency at Jeevika offices to go through how data will be collected. Then Ajit will ask them to make their bids. With the selection of villages, Tauhid will able to circulate the baseline questionnaire. Tauhid will continue to interact with local disaster management personnel to obtain local institutional data. 
CLR Field Efforts
  • Household survey efforts are feet away from the finish line. There is about 3 more days of field work remaining in order to revisit 3 communities. The team currently conducted 459 interviews in 18 communities. However, about 30 of these surveys will be excluded from some analyses due to being conducted within communities very very low numbers of coffee farmers (and therefore biasing the sample). Half of the key informant interview transcriptions have been completed. 
Stakeholder Engagement
  • The Caribbean team is in continuous talks with JM met service, IICA and CIB to find a viable path forward for capacity building efforts and routine dissemination of climate and weather information. Current thinking involves community and extension-level training sessions and the creation of text messaging and bulletin-form communications. 
CLR Factsheet
  • Valerie received very positive comments back from Jacques Avelino about the CLR literature review; we are waiting to hear from one other CLR expert before making refinements. 
  • Christina G. and Zack G. will be at the CariCOF in Dominica to host with CIMH 5 focus groups; with 3 stakeholder groups, discussions will be centered on climate sensitive decisions and with 2 met groups discussions will focus on opportunities and constraints to capacity and tailoring efforts.
  • Zack G. and Teddy A. are tag-teaming a presentation about CLR and JM Drought Valuation.
Team News
  • Ashutosh K. defended his masters thesis (congrats Ash!). Ash will be attending Washington State University next fall to pursue an Econ PhD (following in Tauhid’s rather large footsteps).
  • Valerie R. ialso teaching a class this summer and therefore will not be working on IRAP-related activities this summer, though we hope to engage her at least intellectually. 
  • Saleh A. is in Bangladesh for about 1 month to begin his dissertation research. Saleh was very entrepreneurial and secured several grants to help fund his fieldwork. We’re looking forward to some pictures and stories
  • Welcome Cindy Chiang, the new IRAP intern from the Climate and Society program, who will officially begin on 31 May.
Meeting attendance
  • Teddy A. attended the 2016 Continuously Operating Caribbean Observing Network (COCONet) users meeting in Punta Cana, The Dominican Republic from 3-5 May 2016. He attended as a former COCONet Graduate Fellow and presented updates on his Caribbean rainfall related research using high resolution GPS based water vapor and rainfall measurements. Existing networks were strengthened and new contacts were developed throughout the week with met. service employees from many different Caribbean islands. In addition, current IRAP work was introduced to many of meeting attendees. Teddy also hosted a group data access and visualization workshop with met. workers that featured the IRI Data Library. As a result of the meeting, new research themes were shared and collaborative units were forged to initiate new research exploiting the use of high resolution GPS based water vapor measurements. His participation at the meeting was fully funded by Unavco.

IRAP Newsletter April 2016

Ongoing Efforts
  • CLR household survey efforts are ongoing. The CLR team currently have conducted interviews with 354 farmers within 18 communities (some of these communities are not finished), with 3 more communities to visit. 26 key informant interviews have been completed; transcriptions are ongoing.
  • The CLR/Caribbean team is currently developing an engagement plan to tailor and disseminate climate information to farmers. A stakeholder meeting is tentatively planned for summer 2016.
  • The Caribbean team working on advancing fire risk / fire warning operations has recently developed a user friendly Excel spreadsheet that automates the station based Keech-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) calculation on a daily basis. Inputs include daily rainfall, daily max. temperature, and the average annual accumulated rainfall for each station. Teddy Allen conducted a skype call with the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ) on Mar 30, 2016 to detail thespreadsheet’s computations and to solicit feedback on how to tailor the index to better meet the needs of a subtropical Caribbean island. As a result of the call, the team is exploring ways to include fuel loading (combustible ground coverage) into the index to produce a modified KBDI. MSJ is seeking funding options to include Dr. Michael Taylor (UWI-Mona Physics) and others from UWI to integrate burn/fire data into the testing of the KBDI and to potentially integrate remotely sensed land cover to account for fuel loading. If funding is available, the KBDI and a possible modified KBDI would be tested in two pilot locations in Jamaica: 1) St. Elizabeth (agriculture applications) and 2) The Blue Mountains (BM coffee farmer applications). There is interest from the CIMH to scale up this work with to include the greater Caribbean. The team remains actively engaged in the development process as well as continues to be key partners in the dissemination process.
  • Lisa Goddard had an extended call with Lisa Vaughan and Meredith Muth of NOAA CPO on Apr 6 2016 regarding the CSRD effort taking shape for Bangladesh, and how that can connect to IRAP. Lisa will follow up with IRAP team members who are connected to the Bangladesh work. 
  • Erica Allis worked with IRI staff members and Jim Buizer in a Phase 1 proposal submission to NASA ROSES SERVIR Applied Sciences Team. The proposal ‘Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) in Bangladesh with the SERVIR Himalaya Hub’. The proposal would implement the ENACTS methodology to improve the availability, access and use of climate information in the fisheries sector. It would enable BMD to provide enhanced services by overcoming the challenges of data quality, availability and access, thereby fostering stakeholder engagement and use. ENACTS would improve data availability by combining quality-controlled station observations in Bangladesh with satellite estimates for rainfall (Climate Hazards group InfraRed Precipitation with Station dataset [CHIRPS]), and reanalysis products (Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications [MERRA]) for temperature. The new spatially and temporally complete ENACTS data products created would allow for characterization of climate risks at a local scale, and potentially offer a low-cost, high impact opportunity to support applications and research. The new climate datasets would enhance the quality of climate forecasts, analysis, and IRAP team members would tailor the climate services for select ghers used in rice and fish culture in Bangladesh.  The proposal was invited to Phase 2 full proposal which is due end of April 2016.
  • A draft of the results from the CLR focus group discussions (FGD) has been completed; CLR team members are reviewing it and providing input.
  • The next CariCOF will be held in Roseau, Dominica, beginning May 25-27 2016 for 3 days of training and followed by the stakeholders meeting May 30-31 2016.