Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Climate Variability and the Poor in Southern and Eastern Africa

Funded by World Bank TFESSD

The world’s poor are particularly sensitive to changes in the agricultural sector, both because the majority of the poor rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and because they spend a disproportionate share of their income on food. Work on this project is helping to quantify the impacts of climate variability and change on the world’s poor on seasonal-to-decadal time-scales using a novel economic-climate analysis framework. This year, the team examined the potential economic influence of adverse climate events, such as heat waves, drought and heavy rains, on those in 16 developing countries. They find that extremes under present climate volatility increase poverty across the developing country sample - particularly workers in Bangladesh, Mexico and Zambia—with urban wage earners the most vulnerable group.

Ahmed, S. A., N. S. Diffenbaugh and T. W. Hertel, Climate Volatility Deepens Poverty Vulnerability in Developing Countries. Environ. Res. Lett., 2009; 4: 3.


  • Thomas Hertel, Agricultural Economics
  • Noah Diffenbaugh, EAS

Contact Information

Purdue University
203 S. Martin Jischke Drive
MANN 105
West Lafayette, IN 47907