Fellow, Climate Assessment for the Southwest
Talia Anderson is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography, Development and Environment and in the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research. Her research focuses on climate variability and change and its impacts on ecosystems and communities. She uses a variety of data types, from satellite imagery to household surveys, to explore climate impacts in both local areas and large, multi-country regions. Talia is motivated to build collaborations with potential users of climate information, so that her research can more broadly inform decision-making and action surrounding climate change. Before starting graduate school, Talia worked for the TRACE (Tropical Responses to Altered Climate Experiment) project, a forest warming experiment in Puerto Rico. She holds a master’s degree in Geography from the University of Arizona and a dual-degree in Geography and Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota.
Project Title: Rainfall variability, extreme events, and climate information in the Guatemalan Dry Corridor
Abstract: The millions of families who rely on rainfed agriculture in Central America’s Dry Corridor are some of those most exposed to extreme weather events and drought. While rainfall records show no trends over past decades, many farmers throughout the region attributed recent crop losses to shifting rainfall patterns. My research addresses this discrepancy between instrumental measurements of rainfall and farmers’ observations using a combination of satellite data, weather station records, and household surveys. To understand the sources of this discrepancy, I will integrate these data sources to assess change and variability in rainfall and extreme events from multiple perspectives and across spatial scales. Because this region lacks historical weather station data, this integration of diverse sources will lead to a better understanding of current and future changes that will support informed adaptation to climate change. Through ongoing collaborations with Local Agroclimate Roundtables in Guatemala, my research also evaluates the accessibility and effectiveness of the seasonal climate forecasts they distribute to better inform farmers’ agricultural decisions. Our collaborations will allow them to generate better climate forecasts and determine how to best formulate climate information to support farmers’ needs.