Earth Observation can support public health

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Earth Observation can support public health

Earth Observation can support public health

Climate change has emerged as a major risk factor

Climate change constitutes one of the key issues of global public health. Only global arrangements can generate locally efficient and effective adaptation strategies for the most vulnerable populations in low-income settings. Climate change has emerged as a major risk factor for global public health acting on its own or modifying the effect of the wide array of the well-studied immediate and intermediate determinants of health. A DFG-funded Research Unit in Public Health studies how weather variability influences three major climate-sensitive health outcomes: (i) childhood undernutrition, (ii) malaria and (iii) heat stress.

Information from remote sensing

RSS is contributing to the research through scientific services regarding derived geo-information from remote sensing satellite data in direct support of the various project groups such as studies on “Climate change impact on childhood macro- and micronutrient deficiency”, “Weather-related impacts on crop yields and food production”, “Development of spatio-temporal models to assess the impact of climate change on malaria burden” and “Local refinement of climate variables and uncertainty quantification in the climate – Malaria modeling chain”.

Land use/land cover change

Geospatial information on crop type and yield estimation at micro-field level will be generated in support of studying malnutrition of children at household level. In addition, current and historical land use/land cover for three reference years (2000, 2010, 2019) and an assessment of surface water occurrence from 2015 until 2020 based on Sentinel-1 Radar data will be conducted.


  • Derive phenological parameters from Sentinel-2 time series
  • Classification of crop types
  • Predicting yields at micro plot level
  • Monitoring surface water availability
  • Providing environmental-related indicators for modelling malaria risk

Potential of application

The project will produce a spatially explicit data on historical land cover and land use change over a period of 20 years. It will investigate potential effects of climate change on water supply, crop production and crop yields and thus nutrition supply to the local population. The data will be used for further research on potential correlations of climate change and health issues. .


Heidelberg Institute of Global Health (HIGH), Heidelberg University, Germany, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Campus Alpin, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Centre de Recherche en Santé de Nouna (CRSN), Nouna, Burkina Faso, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Basel, Switzerland

Funding source

Sub-contracted with funds from the German Research Foundation (DFG)