National Geographic quotes Lyon in article on Somalia drought

Bradfield Lyon, an associate research professor of climate analysis at the University of Maine, was interviewed by National Geographic for an article about the current drought in Somalia. The country’s government recently declared the drought a national disaster, and observers fear if rain doesn’t come this month, mass starvation will follow, according to the article. “It’s a chronically food insecure region, so it doesn’t take much of a push for the climate to have a big impact,” Lyon said. Africa’s droughts have been increasing in frequency since the 1990s, and Lyon’s research attributes it in part to the cooling of the eastern Pacific and the warming of the western Pacific, which regulate the El Nino and La Nina cycles. Climate change exacerbates these effects, pushing up temperatures and drying the land, the article states. “The drought wasn’t unanticipated,” Lyon said. “But they don’t have a network in place to be able to effectively respond. If you’re a farmer in Somalia you’re not looking at seasonal forecasts from Columbia University.”