La Trobe

File(s) stored somewhere else

Please note: Linked content is NOT stored on La Trobe and we can't guarantee its availability, quality, security or accept any liability.

Incorporating hydrology into climate suitability models changes projections of malaria transmission in Africa

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-08, 19:32 authored by MW Smith, T Willis, L Alfieri, WHM James, MA Trigg, D Yamazaki, AJ Hardy, B Bisselink, A De Roo, Mark MacklinMark Macklin, CJ Thomas
© 2020, The Author(s). Continental-scale models of malaria climate suitability typically couple well-established temperature-response models with basic estimates of vector habitat availability using rainfall as a proxy. Here we show that across continental Africa, the estimated geographic range of climatic suitability for malaria transmission is more sensitive to the precipitation threshold than the thermal response curve applied. To address this problem we use downscaled daily climate predictions from seven GCMs to run a continental-scale hydrological model for a process-based representation of mosquito breeding habitat availability. A more complex pattern of malaria suitability emerges as water is routed through drainage networks and river corridors serve as year-round transmission foci. The estimated hydro-climatically suitable area for stable malaria transmission is smaller than previous models suggest and shows only a very small increase in state-of-the-art future climate scenarios. However, bigger geographical shifts are observed than with most rainfall threshold models and the pattern of that shift is very different when using a hydrological model to estimate surface water availability for vector breeding.



  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date



Nature Communications





Article Number





Springer Nature



Rights Statement

The Author reserves all moral rights over the deposited text and must be credited if any re-use occurs. Documents deposited in OPAL are the Open Access versions of outputs published elsewhere. Changes resulting from the publishing process may therefore not be reflected in this document. The final published version may be obtained via the publisher’s DOI. Please note that additional copyright and access restrictions may apply to the published version.

Usage metrics

    Journal Articles


    No categories selected