Perspectives on biometeorological research on the African continent

Abstract

Since the first issue of the International Journal of Biometeorology in 1957, a total of 135 papers have reported on research in or of African countries. The majority of these have been on topics of animal biometeorology (36%), and the greatest proportion (24%) are situated in Nigeria. There has been a considerable increase in papers on African biometeorology since 2011, with those from this past decade accounting for 58% of all African papers in the journal. This occurs concurrent to an increase in the total number of papers published in the journal, driven by a move to the Editorial Manager system. While 66% of the papers on African biometeorology in the journal are authored by at least one person with an affiliation in the African continent, only 15 African countries are represented in the total authorship. As much of the African continent is projected to experience climatic changes exceeding the global mean, as much of the region is involved in animal and plant farming, and as seasonally-fluctuating and climatically affected diseases are common place, this low representation of work in Africa is surprising. This points to the need for greater awareness among African researchers of the discipline of biometeorology, greater involvement of African biometeorologists in International Society of Biometeorology and Commission meetings, and the inclusion of a greater number of African academics in the review process. This would be beneficial to the Society in increasing diversity and encouraging a more cosmopolitan engagement, and to the recognition of scientific development in African countries.

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Acknowledgments

Kayla Mac Conachie is acknowledged for typing up and formatting the (very long) reference list. Dr MP Fitchett is acknowledged for proofreading the initial draft of the manuscript. The two anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged for the insightful comments on the first version of this manuscript. This paper emanates from discussions held at the 2017 ISB meeting in Durham, and members of the ISB and the editorial board of the IJBM are thanked for their encouragement to compile this review.

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JMF receives operational support funding from the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Palaeosciences.

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Fitchett, J.M. Perspectives on biometeorological research on the African continent. Int J Biometeorol 65, 133–147 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-020-02020-w

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Keywords

  • Africa
  • Phenology
  • Thermal comfort
  • Tourism
  • Vegetation
  • Animal biometeorology