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Climate Change and Locust Swarms


An article titled ‘Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change?’ by Daisy Dunne in Carbon Brief that discusses the potential link between climate change and the locust outbreak in East Africa and surrounding regions. The article discusses how climate change has influenced heavy rains, unusual storm activity and a change in the ‘Indian Ocean Dipole’ from East Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia to Western Australia. The article further tracks the beginning and spread of the outbreak causing mass crop failure.

Students will learn about how climate change potentially led to the mass breeding and outbreak of desert locusts in East Africa and surrounding regions. They will also learn about how changing weather patterns, rising sea temperatures and altered oceanic currents can provide breeding grounds for desert locusts. Students will further learn about what makes desert locusts resilient, allowing them to migrate and cause mass crop failure in many countries.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. What countries were affected by the locust plague of 2019-20?
  2. What weather conditions are favourable for locust breeding?
  3. Is climate change responsible for the current locust outbreak? Discuss.
  4. How is the locust plague causing food insecurity in some countries?
About Tool
Tool Name Q&A: Are the 2019-20 locust swarms linked to climate change?
Discipline Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in Discipline Locust Plague, Desert Locust, Food Security, Species Migration, Agriculture
Climate Topic Climate and Food Security
Type of tool Reading
Grade Level High School, Undergraduate
Location Africa, East Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, India, Pakistan
Language English
Translation      –
Developed by Daisy Dunne
Hosted at Carbon Brief
Access Online/Offline 
Computer Skills Basic

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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