Stay Smart About South Africa

How to Increase African Authorship on Climate Change

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Biometeorological research is particularly important in Africa. The continent is projected to experience temperature increases bigger than the global mean throughout the 21st century. Changes in rainfall distribution are projected to heighten the occurrence and severity of droughts, floods and extreme climate events. But the continent is still not well represented in academic output in this field. I conducted a review and found that research in or about African countries makes up only 3.4% of the 4,014 papers in the International Journal of Biometeorology. Topics of African biometeorology have been included in the journal since the first issue in 1957. The number of these papers has increased since 2011. But the overall number of papers increased at the same time, so the proportion of African papers hasn’t changed very much. The majority of papers that have been published from the African continent are on topics of animal biometeorology. The African country with the biggest share of the papers is Nigeria. Again, the topics are mostly about animals. Some papers are on topics such as phenology and conditions for malaria transmission. Other countries where 15 or more biometeorological studies have been conducted are Algeria, Morocco, Ghana and South Africa. Making up less than half the number of studies are topics like human thermal comfort and stress, human health, phenology, and plant productivity and stress. In terms of authorship, 66% of these papers are by at least one researcher based in an African country.


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