Welcome to the Climate Hazards Center (CHC)
The Climate Hazards Center is an alliance of multidisciplinary scientists and food security analysts utilizing climate and crop models, satellite-based earth observations, and socioeconomic data sets to predict and monitor droughts and food shortages among the world's most vulnerable populations. Through partnerships with USAID, USGS, and FEWS NET, the CHC provides early warning to save lives and secure livelihoods.
The CHC's mission aligns with the University of Santa Barbara, California in our shared commitment to public service, which manifests through the creation and distribution of knowledge that advances the well-being of the global community. We improve the early detection and forecasting of hydroclimatic hazards related to food security, droughts, and floods while empowering decision-makers by providing improved climate analysis tools, data sets, and the on-ground support of CHC-affiliated field scientists. We aim to strengthen international disaster risk-reduction efforts by advancing drought early warning science.
As an official Center, we hope to increase our reach and visibility to educate an engaged public on the devastation caused caused by climate disasters. By spotlighting climate hazards, we believe that public awareness of the necessity of timely scientific research and the development of operational techniques that quickly identify and quantify food insecurity will drastically increase.
The CHC routinely contributes actionable information supporting the mobilization of emergency relief that benefits ten of millions of people. In the spirit of knowledge sharing and innovative research, the Center is forging a lasting legacy that is helping to combat the severest of climate hazards in the most vulnerable of regions.
Tropical regions that habitually struggle with climate variability are particularly susceptible to problems linked to increased extremes, since poor households typically spend more than half their monthly income on food and are prone to food insecurity. In 2022, across Ethiopia and southern Africa, some 107 million-plus people will require humanitarian assistance to prevent starvation and manage extreme food insecurity. Recent research and information can be found on our publications page and through our blog.
When climate variability and shifting climatic trends converge to produce severe droughts, fragile, food-insecure populations rapidly face food crises as supplies drop, prices rise, and household incomes decline. In the most vulnerable areas, these unanticipated climate shocks can devastate herds and harvests. The number of people affected by hunger globally rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employing only traditional monitoring and forecasting methods is inadequate in predicting when largely defenseless regions, especially in Africa, will be in dire need of timely humanitarian aid. To combat this growing threat, the CHC works with U.S., African, and Latin American partners to develop and deploy improved earth observations, forecasts, and decision-support tools which, when combined with capacity-building activities, fosters a knowledgeable community of decision-makers.
This collaborative effort to help protect environmentally threatened people is crucial in enabling them to continue their traditional means of livelihood. With advance notice and timely humanitarian assistance, inhabitants of susceptible regions cannot only prepare for climate hazards, but also live with the assurance that their livelihoods will be protected to the greatest extent possible.