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Mongolia and the globalisation of hazards

The geographers Troy Sternberg, Batbuyan and Ariell Ahearn present museum pieces, music, tea and talk to convey a sense of the Gobi Desert’s enchantment. Their research on climate, pastoralists, society and the environment and society highlights the Gobi’s evolving nomadic traditions in a contemporary context. 

Troy's research centres on climate hazards in Asian drylands. This includes climate documentation, hazard analysis, assessment of social and environmental risk and system exposure to extreme events. Climate - hazard interaction in deserts is part of an intricate equation that includes government policy, land use decisions and cultural and historical patterns as much as precipitation and temperature dynamics. Work focuses on sites in the Gobi (Mongolia and China), Thar (India and Pakistan) and Arabian (Oman, Jordan) deserts. His research documents climate hazard events and impacts, physical shifts in desert zones, transboundary hazard risk, policy implications for livelihoods and landscapes, remotely-sensed palaeo-channels and palaeo-shorelines as potential indicators of water resources and historical conceptions of Asian deserts.

A particular interest is the 'globalisation of hazards' that identifies how hazards can have direct local and indirect international consequences. The theme reflects how in our increasingly interconnected world it is imperative to examine climate, hazards and society at regional and global scales as well as at national levels. Troy's widely-reported article 'Chinese drought, bread and the Arab Spring' exemplifies the importance of hazard globalisation today.

He works closely with the Mongolian Institute of Geography and Mongolia National University, the Chinese Academy of Science - Institute of Geographical Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Social Science - Institute of Anthropology and universities and institutes in Oman, Jordan, India, Pakistan, United States and the UK.

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Department of Geography and Environment

Troy Sternberg

Event supporters

We are grateful to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for their support through the University of Oxford’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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