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The Climate Sensitivity of Mosquito Habitats: Simulating Subseasonal Climate Impacts on Dengue Vector Breeding Sites
  • Chanud N Yasanayake,
  • Benjamin F Zaitchik
Chanud N Yasanayake
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Benjamin F Zaitchik
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University


Climate modulates the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases, in part due to climatic impacts on the suitability of vector breeding habitats. While the existence of a mechanistic link between climate and habitat suitability is clear—the aquatic early life stages of mosquitoes are impacted by climate-driven variability in water level and temperature—what is less well-defined is the sensitivity of these habitats to climate variability, which can be dependent on myriad factors such as the physical properties of the habitats as well as the timescale of interest.
In this work we focus on the habitats of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the urban-adapted vectors of dengue that primarily breed in artificial containers (e.g., water tanks, flower pots, discarded tires). We investigate the climate sensitivity of these habitats using the energy balance container model WHATCH’EM (NCAR). WHATCH’EM simulates the (hourly) temporal evolution of water height and temperature within a container habitat based on user-specified parameters (e.g., container dimensions, shading, thermal conductivity) and climate inputs (e.g., timeseries of air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall).
Here we discuss our implementation of this model, using WHATCH’EM to (a) understand model sensitivity within a parameter space informed by existing entomological surveillance data for Sri Lanka, and (b) test habitat sensitivity to climate variability due to the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO), the quasiperiodic atmospheric disturbance that primarily drives subseasonal variability in the tropics. By doing so we will assess the extent to which the habitats of dengue vectors show MJO-associated subseasonal climate sensitivities.
02 Jun 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
06 Jun 2023Published in ESS Open Archive