An Environmental Data Set for Vector-Borne Disease Modeling and Epidemiology

April 22, 2014


Understanding the environmental conditions of disease transmission is important in the study of vector-borne diseases. Low- and middle-income countries bear a significant portion of the disease burden; but data about weather conditions in those countries can be sparse and difficult to reconstruct. Here, we describe methods to assemble high-resolution gridded time series data sets of air temperature, relative humidity, land temperature, and rainfall for such areas; and we test these methods on the island of Madagascar. Air temperature and relative humidity were constructed using statistical interpolation of weather station measurements; the resulting median 95th percentile absolute errors were 2.75°C and 16.6%. Missing pixels from the MODIS11 remote sensing land temperature product were estimated using Fourier decomposition and time-series analysis; thus providing an alternative to the 8-day and 30-day aggregated products. The RFE 2.0 remote sensing rainfall estimator was characterized by comparing it with multiple interpolated rainfall products, and we observed significant differences in temporal and spatial heterogeneity relevant to vector-borne disease modeling.