Estimating air temperature and its influence on malaria transmission across Africa.


Malaria transmission is strongly influenced by climatic conditions which determine the abundance and seasonal dynamics of the Anopheles vector. In particular, water temperature influences larval development rates whereas air temperature determines adult longevity as well as the rate of parasite development within the adult mosquito. Although data on land surface temperature exist at a spatial resolution of approximately 1 km globally with four time steps per day, comparable data are not currently available for air temperature. In order to address this gap and demonstrate the importance of using the right type of temperature data, we fitted simple models of the relationship between land-surface and air temperature at lower resolution to obtain a high resolution estimate of air temperature across Africa. We then used these estimates to calculate some crucial malaria transmission parameters that strongly depend on air temperatures. Our results demonstrate substantial differences between air and surface temperatures that impact temperature-based maps of areas suitable for transmission. We present high resolution maps of the malaria transmission parameters driven by air temperature and their seasonal variation. The fitted air temperature datasets are made publicly available alongside this publication.

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