Professor Eltahir sits on the advisory committee of Community Jameel and is the co-director of the Jameel Observatory in Nairobi, Kenya. He is the HM King Bhumibol Professor of Hydrology and Climate and professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he leads the Jameel Observatory Climate Resilience Early Warning System (Jameel Observatory | CREWSnet) project, a cutting-edge platform that forecasts the local impacts of climate change on people’s lives, homes and livelihoods.
Professor Eltahir’s research seeks to understand how global climate change, regional land use change and land cover change impacts society through fluctuations in the patterns of water availability, extreme weather and spread of vector-borne diseases. Together with his research group students, he develops sophisticated numerical models that are used for predicting such impacts at regional scale.
Alongside John Aldridge and Deborah Campbell from the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Systems Group at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, Professor Eltahir leads the Jameel Observatory | CREWSnet project, a partnership between Bangladesh-based development organisation BRAC, MIT and Community Jameel, to develop cutting-edge forecasting platform that boosts climate resilience by empowering underserved communities to interpret local risk, minimise loss and plan for their futures. The project was selected as one of MIT Climate Grand Challenges flagship projects in 2022 and the Aim for Climate Innovation Sprint in 2023.
Among other titles, Professor Eltahir has written extensively on water issues and climate change in Africa. His publications include: ‘A path forward for sharing the Nile water: Sustainable, smart, equitable and incremental’ (2019); ‘Projecting the impacts of climate change on malaria transmission in Africa: Field observations and disease transmission modelling’ (2020); ‘Natural variability of the Nile floods: From pharaoh’s dream to el niño/la niña’ (2021).
Professor Eltahir is a recipient of the US Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (1997); and the Kuwait Prize in Applied Science (2000) for his work on climate change. He was elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 2008 and received the Hydrologic Sciences Award of the American Geophysical Union (2017).
In 2023, Professor Eltahir was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions for engineers, for advancing understanding of how climate and land use impact water availability, environmental and human health and vector-borne diseases.
Professor Eltahir took a bachelor’s of science in civil engineering from the University of Khartoum in 1985, a master’s in hydrology from the National University of Ireland in 1988, a master’s of science in meteorology and a doctorate of science in hydro-climatology, both from MIT in 1993.