Linking scientists and humanitarians

The Climate Centre makes cutting edge science available to humanitarian actors and also helps them pose useful questions that science can answer. 

We research climate science and human systems, spanning adaptation and mitigation. By involving National Societies, we strengthen their links with research institutions and national hydrometeorological agencies, increasing their capacity to deliver the climate goals of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement as a whole.

We have a track record of publication in peer-reviewed literature and are well respected for our ability to synthesize and communicate evidence, for example as part of the IPCC process and in attribution studies.

We have had strong connections with global academic institutions, including the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, New York, which provided a specialist map room to the IFRC and where seasonal climate forecasts are still available, and most of our science team members have joint roles with universities.


Our work ensures that Red Cross Red Crescent actors and their partner organizations can access, understand and use climate and weather information, from short-term weather and seasonal forecasts to long-term climate insights. We also provide internships for junior researchers and jointly supervise PhD projects.

The team includes scientists from different disciplines, many of whom have published research on the social and natural sciences. By promoting scientific engagements and providing technical advice, our aim is to enhance climate risk management.

Are you developing a research proposal and would like to find out how the Climate Centre can strengthen your consortium? Do you have a question about El Niño or La Niña? What exactly does climate change mean for your country or region? Are you working on a plan for anticipatory action? We can answer these and other science-based questions.

If you are with a National Society and would like to work with us to answer research questions to support your goals, our work is likely to have encompassed the areas you’re interested in.

(Photo: Emmanuel Ntale, anticipatory action lead with the Uganda Red Cross Society, who has worked closely with the Climate Centre on many research projects.)

News story


NEW: The Climate Centre is part of an international collaboration aimed at improving early warning and enhancing resilience to tropical cyclones in Madagascar, Malawi and (photo) Mozambique. The project, Resilience and preparedness for tropical cyclones across Southern Africa (REPRESA), is the first of a series in the UK- and Canadian-supported research programme on climate adaptation and resilience known as CLARE.

(Photo: the Mozambique Red Cross prepares for Cyclone Freddy’s second landfall in 2023.) 

Read the press release

Climate science and health

Working with humanitarian actors, universities and public health institutions, we are prominent in the field of research on health-related anticipatory action and other systems, and climate finance. In partnership with the IFRC and Médecins Sans Frontières, our experts jointly lead the working group on health with the Anticipation Hub (link below).

We are supporting the development of anticipatory action for epidemics by assessing a wide range of climate-sensitive infectious disease in Latin American, the Caribbean and East Africa, and we’re developing an early warning system for the combined effects of humidity, heat and air pollution in Thailand.

We engage with National Societies and other humanitarian partners to help them adapt health programmes to climate change; goals include assessing how developing risks may impact the humanitarian system, including mental health.

(Photo: the EU-supported IFRC Programmatic Partnership in Guatemala, working on health, nutrition, Covid-19 and malaria.)

Anticipatory action

Our work linking science, policy and practice puts climate and social science at the centre of the design, organization and implementation of anticipatory action.

The Climate Centre has partnered in various research consortia, including the Science for Humanitarian Emergencies and Resilience programme (now closed), in which we developed a research road map on forecast-based financing and other areas.

We are also founder members of the Anticipation Hub, hosted by the German Red Cross – a network of organizations around the world working to develop and scale-up anticipatory approaches.

(Photo: Christof Johnen, German Red Cross Director of International Cooperation, opens the 11th global dialogue platform on anticipatory action in Berlin in 2023.) 


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

In its landmark Sixth Assessment Report issued in 2022, the IPCC Working Group II said for the first time that climate change is already contributing to humanitarian crises in vulnerable contexts, confirming what the IFRC and National Societies have been witnessing around the world for years. WGII authors included (right to left in the photo) former Climate Centre Director Maarten van Aalst, Erin Coughlan de Perez, who jointly oversees our work on climate science for risk management, and our former Senior Pacific Climate Adviser, Olivia Warrick.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Forecast-based financing: the science

Forecast-based financing, the original concept that underpins anticipatory action, is an approach that brings together actors from different sectors to assess risks, determine triggers and prioritize actions.

Hydrometeorological services provide technical inputs to develop options that allow disaster managers to take timely decisions. The scientific community and the Red Cross Red Crescent have together enabled a better understanding of forecast science and risk analysis.

(On the link below, Andrew Kruczkiewicz: ‘The fascinating and critical role of a meteorologist embedded with the Red Cross.’)

Andrew’s story