Bangladesh, a country of 165 million in southern Asia, can teach people across the world a lot about how everything from climate to food to migration to economics is intertwined, said Joyce J. Chen. Chen is a development economist and associate professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics who studies climate change and migration in Bangladesh. Part of Chen’s unique research centers on the way salt water encroaches into soil and drinking water, making growing crops and finding fresh water increasingly difficult.
As a delta, Bangladesh is also sensitive to changing patterns of drought and precipitation. As a coastal country, Bangladesh has already seen the effects of rising sea levels and increasingly intense typhoons and storm surges. Places like Louisiana are experiencing this in-between too. Certain roads become washed out and areas become inaccessible throughout the year as extreme weather events become more common.
Chen and two other Ohio State researchers, J. Craig Jenkins and C.K. Shum, are working alongside water management organizations and local governments to create a flood and drought early warning system to help people adapt and safely stay in place rather than leave their homes.