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Climate change and the future heat stress challenges among smallholder farmers in East Africa

  • Genesis Tambang Yengoh
  • Jonas Ardö
Publishing year: 2020
Language: English
Publication/Series: Atmosphere
Volume: 11
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: MDPI AG

Abstract english

Agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa remains dependent on high inputs of human labor, a situation associated with direct exposure to daylight heat during critical periods of the agricultural calendar. We ask the question: how is the Wet-Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) going to be distributed in the future, and how will this affect the ability of smallholder farmers to perform agricultural activities? Data from general circulation models are used to estimate the distribution of WBGT in 2000, 2050 and 2100, and for high activity periods in the agricultural calendar. The distribution of WBGT is divided into recommended maximum WBGT exposure levels (°C) at different work intensities, and rest/work ratios for an average acclimatized worker wearing light clothing (ISO, 18). High WBGTs are observed during the two periods of the East African. In February to March, eastern and coastal regions of Kenya and Tanzania witness high WBGT values-some necessitating up to 75% rest/hour work intensities in 2050 and 2100. In August to September, eastern and northern Kenya and north and central Uganda are vulnerable to high WBGT values. Designing policies to address this key challenge is a critical element in adaptation methods to address the impact of climate change.


  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Economic Geography
  • Climate change
  • East Africa
  • Farm work
  • Heat stress
  • Mitigation
  • WBGT


  • ISSN: 2073-4433
E-mail: jonas [dot] ardo [at] nateko [dot] lu [dot] se


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