Impact of an accelerated melting of Greenland on malaria distribution over Africa

Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 25;12(1):3971. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24134-4.


Studies about the impact of future climate change on diseases have mostly focused on standard Representative Concentration Pathway climate change scenarios. These scenarios do not account for the non-linear dynamics of the climate system. A rapid ice-sheet melting could occur, impacting climate and consequently societies. Here, we investigate the additional impact of a rapid ice-sheet melting of Greenland on climate and malaria transmission in Africa using several malaria models driven by Institute Pierre Simon Laplace climate simulations. Results reveal that our melting scenario could moderate the simulated increase in malaria risk over East Africa, due to cooling and drying effects, cause a largest decrease in malaria transmission risk over West Africa and drive malaria emergence in southern Africa associated with a significant southward shift of the African rain-belt. We argue that the effect of such ice-sheet melting should be investigated further in future public health and agriculture climate change risk assessments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles
  • Global Warming
  • Greenland
  • Humans
  • Ice Cover*
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Malaria / transmission*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Mosquito Vectors
  • Prevalence
  • Rain