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Multiple impact pathways of the 2015-2016 El Niño in coastal Kenya.

Authors
  • Fortnam, Matt1
  • Atkins, Molly2
  • Brown, Katrina3
  • Chaigneau, Tomas4
  • Frouws, Ankje5
  • Gwaro, Kemyline6
  • Huxham, Mark7
  • Kairo, James8
  • Kimeli, Amon8, 9
  • Kirui, Bernard6
  • Sheen, Katy4
  • 1 Department of Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK. [email protected]
  • 2 International Development Department, School of Government, Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK.
  • 3 Department of Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK.
  • 4 Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK.
  • 5 Centre for Marine Ecosystem Research, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Perth, WA, 6027, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 6 Department of Natural Resources, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources Development, Egerton University, P.O. Box 536, Egerton, 20115, Kenya. , (Kenya)
  • 7 School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, EH11 4BN, Scotland, UK.
  • 8 Department of Oceanography and Hydrography, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, P.O. Box 81651, Mombasa, 80100, Kenya. , (Kenya)
  • 9 Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) GmBH, Fahrenheitstr. 6, 28359, Bremen, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ambio
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2021
Volume
50
Issue
1
Pages
174–189
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s13280-020-01321-z
PMID: 32152905
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The 2015-2016 El Niño had large impacts globally. The effects were not as great as anticipated in Kenya, however, leading some commentators to call it a 'non-event'. Our study uses a novel combination of participatory Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis tools, and new and existing social and biophysical data, to analyse vulnerability to, and the multidimensional impacts of, the 2015-2016 El Niño episode in southern coastal Kenya. Using a social-ecological systems lens and a unique dataset, our study reveals impacts overlooked by conventional analysis. We show how El Niño stressors interact with and amplify existing vulnerabilities to differentially impact local ecosystems and people. The policy significance of this finding is that the development of specific national capacities to deal with El Niño events is insufficient; it will be necessary to also address local vulnerabilities to everyday and recurrent stressors and shocks to build resilience to the effects of El Niño and other extremes in climate and weather.

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