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B. Climate Experts Help Predict Rainfall Patterns to Avert Famine

Narrator: This is Science Today. Climate experts at the University of California, Santa Barbara are leading an international team of scientists to help monitor and predict rainfall patterns in Central America and Africa to avert famine. Joel Michaelsen, who heads the team, says they received funding to increase their participation in a federal program called the Famine Early Warning System Network, or FEWS NET.

Michaelsen: Their overall mission is to try to monitor the development of crop yield during the growing season in different areas of the world, so that they can get advance notice if there are going to be serious problems with rainfall shortage or excess that would lead to crop shortages.

Narrator: Researchers at UC Santa Barbara are working with scientists in the field to develop computer tools.

Michaelsen: We develop software that allow them to take our data sets and evaluate different scenarios that allow them to map current patterns and see them over a regional scale.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.