Erin Coughlan de Perez

Erin Coughlan de PerezResearch Director and Dignitas Professor
Dignitas Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition
Senior Advisor, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

Working with Feinstein Since: 2021
Based in: Boston, MA

Erin bridges science, policy, and practice in her research on climate risk management around the world. She focuses on extreme events, exploring how droughts, floods, heatwaves, and other climate shocks can be anticipated before they happen. Erin works with humanitarian teams to develop early action protocols to avoid disaster impacts, and she researches the adoption and effectiveness of climate change adaptation measures. 

Erin comes to the Feinstein Center from the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, where she built a global climate science team and led the first Forecast-based Financing pilots in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Erin retains a senior advisor position at the Climate Centre, to maintain links to humanitarian operations around the world. Erin was formerly an Associate at Columbia University. 

Erin is also a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report. Her chapter is Decision-Making Options for Managing Risk, as part of the Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. 

Erin received her Ph.D. from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, her M.A. in climate and society from Columbia University, and her B.S. in environmental science and international development from McGill University. 

Erin lives in Boston with her partner and children, where they are active foster parents and beekeepers. 

Research Interests:
  • Disaster risk management 
  • Climate change adaptation 
  • Forecast-based Financing 
Most Cited Books and Articles:
  • Coughlan de Perez, Erin, Bart van den Hurk, Maarten K. van Aalst, Irene Amuron, Deus Bamanya, Tristan Hauser, Brenden Jongma et al. “Action-based flood forecasting for triggering humanitarian action.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 20, no. 9 (2016): 3549-3560. 
  • Coughlan de Perez, E., B. J. J. M. van den Hurk, M. K. Van Aalst, B. Jongman, T. Klose, and P. Suarez. “Forecast-based financing: an approach for catalyzing humanitarian action based on extreme weather and climate forecasts.” Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 15, no. 4 (2015): 895-904. 
  • Jongman, Brenden, Hessel C. Winsemius, Jeroen CJH Aerts, Erin Coughlan De Perez, Maarten K. Van Aalst, Wolfgang Kron, and Philip J. Ward. “Declining vulnerability to river floods and the global benefits of adaptation.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, no. 18 (2015): E2271-E2280. 
  • Ward, Philip J., Brenden Jongman, Peter Salamon, Alanna Simpson, Paul Bates, Tom De Groeve, Sanne Muis et al. “Usefulness and limitations of global flood risk models.” Nature Climate Change 5, no. 8 (2015): 712-715. 
  • Jongman, Brenden, Jurjen Wagemaker, Beatriz Revilla Romero, and Erin Coughlan De Perez. “Early flood detection for rapid humanitarian response: harnessing near real-time satellite and Twitter signals.” ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 4, no. 4 (2015): 2246-2266. 
Most Recent External Publications:
  • Towner, Jamie, Hannah L. Cloke, Waldo Lavado, William Santini, Juan Bazo, Erin Coughlan de Perez, and Elisabeth M. Stephens. “Attribution of Amazon floods to modes of climate variability: A review.” Meteorological Applications 27, no. 5 (2020): e1949. 
  • Gros, Clemens, Meghan Bailey, Saroja Schwager, Ahmadul Hassan, Raymond Zingg, Muhammad Mamtaz Uddin, Mohammad Shahjahan et al. “Household-level effects of providing forecast-based cash in anticipation of extreme weather events: Quasi-experimental evidence from humanitarian interventions in the 2017 floods in Bangladesh.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 41 (2019): 101275. 
  • Coughlan de Perez, Erin, Maarten van Aalst, Richard Choularton, Bart van den Hurk, Simon Mason, Hannah Nissan, and Saroja Schwager. “From rain to famine: assessing the utility of rainfall observations and seasonal forecasts to anticipate food insecurity in East Africa.” Food security 11, no. 1 (2019): 57-68. 
  • Singh, Roop K., Julie Arrighi, Erin Coughlan de Perez, Olivia Warrick, Pablo Suarez, Bettina Koelle, Eddie Jjemba et al. “International Conference on Climate Risk Management, inputs for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report.” Climate and development 11, no. 8 (2019): 655-658. 
  • Nissan, Hannah, Lisa Goddard, Erin Coughlan de Perez, John Furlow, Walter Baethgen, Madeleine C. Thomson, and Simon J. Mason. “On the use and misuse of climate change projections in international development.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 10, no. 3 (2019): e579. 

News Items

Erin Coughlan de Perez joins USAID Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change
July 1, 2022

The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the Subcommittee on Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in…

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Erin Coughlan de Perez lead author on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report
March 1, 2022

Erin Coughlan de Perez is a lead author of an installment in the sixth report by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was released on February…

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Feinstein Research Projects

Academic Alliance for Anticipatory Action

The Academic Alliance for Anticipatory Action (4A’s) is a global consortium of universities that will develop the evidence base on anticipatory action.

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Feinstein Publications

Disaster Risk Financing: An Overview From Lesotho
cover of report about disaster risk financing in Lesotho

This brief examines Lesotho, a small country in southern Africa that is highly vulnerable to climate hazards, is equipped to make use of DRF.

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