Unprecedented global challenges posed by COVID-19 and its ripple effects on jobs and food security calls for bold and effective partnerships. UN Secretary General, Mr. Guterres, put out a clarion call on April 27, 2020 for us to work in concert to “build a better future for all.” COVID-19 has resulted in lower emission associated with reduced economic growth in the short term but this existential threat remains and we must continue our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The sector most impacted by the combined effects of climate change and COVID-19 is our global food system as stay-at-home policies are now impacting the farm workforce, value chain logistics and trade policies that will impact food pricing and access, especially for emerging economies that import food.
Weather is actually a key underlying driver of these global challenges that pushes interactions between climate adaptation, food security and COVID-19 epidemiology to varying degrees. aWhere has been looking at these interactions using our historical observed weather and forecast data to understand how weather variability is impacting our society and how to apply these insights to design more resilient and sustainable food and health systems against the backdrop of climate change. We are introducing a new blog series called COVID, CLIMATE and FOOD that will explore our interconnected world of weather as it relates to these global challenges and the people who are impacted.
aWhere has 1.9 million virtual weather stations that cover the world’s daily weather since 2006 and enable us to look at local trends and combine with other data to generate new insights on how we can best adapt to improve lives and live within the ecological boundaries of our planet. The map below shows one of the key tools we will use to focus our future conversations. If we look at normal rainfall and temperatures we can look at how forecast weather points to areas under cultivation but are experiencing different levels of drought by using a ratio of Precipitation (P) divided by the Potential Evapotranspiration (PET), a measure of the water demands to grow a crop.
We will explain more about this powerful index in future blogs and the emerging challenge and opportunities to enhance food security. Our next blog will show how we can identify the number of people at risk of drought events across the world in real-time so stay tuned and stay safe.