DMF Paper: The effect of SRM on malaria risk

DMF Team Bangladesh

Solar geoengineering could redistribute malaria risk in developing countries – Nature Communications, C.J. Carlson, R. Colwell, M. S. Hossain, M. M. Rahman, A. Robock, S. J. Ryan, M. S. Alam, C. H. Trisos


For billions of people, one of the most urgent impacts of climate change will be the spread of insect-born diseases. The climate emergency is, in practice, also a health emergency. Mosquitos and ticks – vectors of disease – are particularly sensitive to temperature, and malaria (carried by mosquitos) is the sixth largest cause of death in low-income countries.

Higher temperatures lead to more transmission of malaria in some areas, but lower transmission in others, so the impact of rising temperatures has a different impact on different regions. So how would SRM – which reduces temperatures – affect malaria spread, compared to a warmer world without SRM?

A DMF-backed team with researchers in Bangladesh, South Africa and the USA set out to explore the implications for developing countries. They learned that, when compared to a world of very high warming, SRM might redistribute the risks of malaria in the tropics, rather than increase or reduce them.