I am a graduate research assistant at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (CU-USA) and an associate professor at the Department of Environmental Engineering, Antioquia School of Engineering (Colombia). I am the Principal Investigator of the Hydroclimatology Team of the research group Investigacion en Gestion Ambiental (IGEA) at the School of Engineering.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (National University of Colombia-UNAL), a Master of Science in Water Resources (UNAL), a Master of Arts in Climate and Society (CU-USA), and a M.Phil. in Earth and Environmental Sciences (CU-USA). I have recently defended my PhD thesis entitled 'Adaptation strategies to climate change in the tropics: analysis of two multi-factorial systems (high-altitude Andean ecosystems and Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections)' at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University in the City of New York (CU-USA).
My areas of expertise include hydrology, climatology, water resources, and environmental health sciences. My research interests focus on environmental change, climate variability and change in high-mountain watersheds, and climate variability/change and human health impacts. Up to date, my experience includes 15 research projects, 14 indexed articles, 10 book chapters, and 48 refereed papers in congresses, seminars, meetings, and workshops. I have attended 24 conferences, given a total number of 62 lectures, received 8 research awards, and supervised 13 undergraduate and graduate students. Since 1994 I have participated in 36 development projects conducted by several engineering consultancy firms and environment protection agencies.
For further info please proceed to my LinkedIn, ResearchGate, and ScienTI public profiles.
Follow me also on: Mountain forum and Twitter (@RuizCarrascalD).
IRI Home Page
Over the past three years I have conducted various research projects, all contributing to adaptation strategies to climate change in the Tropics. My research has focused on two independent areas of interest: (a) high-altitude ecosystems of the Tropical Andes, focusing on the so-called paramo ecosystems, and (b) mosquito-borne diseases, focusing on Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections. These topics have been considered as areas of primary concern by numerous international research groups.
My analyses on paramo ecosystems have focused on the life zones inhabiting the Los Nevados Natural Park, a key protected area and a representative high-altitude environment that is located on the El Ruiz-Tolima volcanic massif, on the Colombian Central Cordillera. My research follows a six-tiered approach to understand the linkages between the ongoing changes in climatic conditions and the disruptions affecting the integrity of high-altitude environments. Activities include: the analysis of long-term changes in atmospheric (in)stability, e.g. altitudinal shifts in the Lifting Condensation Level and the Level of Free Convection, and changes in local circulation patterns; the diagnosis of water balance/supply and potential changes in hydrological regimes, including assessment of the ongoing changes in high-altitude water bodies and aquatic micro-habitats, as well as long-term trends in streamflow historical records; the assessment of biodiversity levels and the extent of life zones in high-altitude environments, e.g. the potential altitudinal shifts of ecosystems boundaries and reductions/expansions of life zones; the analysis of occurrence (frequency, affected area, and duration) and rapid spread of high mountain wildfires; the quantification of environmental goods and services provided by high-altitude environments and the assessment of the integrity of paramo ecosystems; and the assessment (through exploratory and confirmatory analyses) of changes in climatic conditions occurring at regional and local scales using ground-truth records, satellite data, sea surface temperatures data, and reanalysis simulation outputs.
My research on P. falciparum malaria has focused on the analysis of the complexity of the transmission dynamics of this multi-factorial disease. My goal has been to use malaria process-based models to offer useful information that could effectively guide decision-makers in risk assessment, malaria control investments and choice of interventions. I have recently reviewed several malaria dynamical models and created a first version of a multi-model ensemble. Also, I have implemented a set of those mathematical tools in Colombian and Kenyan malaria-prone regions. The exercise required a good understanding of the local climatic and non-climatic conditions driving the final malaria incidence in the selected pilot sites. My interests were to: explore the role that both climatic and non-climatic factors play in fluctuations and trends in malaria morbidity in these pilot areas; estimate the timing and magnitude of their malaria outbreaks; analyze the role of different drivers; investigate the ongoing decision making processes; investigate the impacts of malaria control interventions; and answer various what-if questions.
Role at the IRI
I am currently leading the research projects entitled (a) Dendrochronological potential of Polylepis and Espeletia in the high-altitude ecosystems of the Colombian Central Cordillera, South America; (b) Impacts of climate change on biodiversity in the Tropical Andes: climate-related vulnerability and risk assessments and improved decision making processes for conservation and land use planning in two Andean biodiversity hotspots; and (c) Simulating malaria transmission dynamics in the pilot areas of the Colombian Integrated National Adaptation Pilot Project, contributions to the Malaria Early Warning System and the Colombian Integrated Surveillance and Control System.
For further information, check our latest videos at: Climate change threatens a fragile ecosystem in the Andes (Spanish and English versions)
See also the EarthSky video (in Spanish): Calentamiento global amenaza a los paramos en Los Andes
Published Papers and Books
Ruiz D, Herzog SK, Jorgensen PM, Larsen TH, Martinez R, Nieto JJ, Poats SV, and Ohira M, 2012. Five-tiered integrated climate-related biodiversity vulnerability assessment in the Tropical Andes. Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) Newsletter 7: 7-11. Available online at: MRI science peak article
Munoz AG, Ruiz D, Ramirez P, Leon G, Quintana J, Bonilla A, Torres W, Pasten M, and Sanchez O, 2012. Risk management at the Latin American Observatory. Chapter 22 in Risk Management: Current Issues and Challenges, Nerija Banaitiene (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0747-7, InTech, available online at: Full chapter
Ruiz D, Martinson DG and Vergara W, 2012. Trends, stability and stress in the Colombian Central Andes. Climatic Change 112 (3): 717-732, doi: 10.1007/s10584-011-0228-0, available online at: Abstract
Martinez R, Ruiz D, Andrade M, Blacutt L, Pabon D, Jaimes E, Leon G, Villacis M, Quintana J, Montealegre E, and Euscategui Ch, 2011. Synthesis of the climate of the Tropical Andes. Pages 97-109 in Herzog SK, Martinez R, Jorgensen PM, Tiessen H (eds.). Climate change and biodiversity in the Tropical Andes. MacArthur Foundation, Inter-American Institute of Global Change Research (IAI) and Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), Sao Jose dos Campos and Paris, 348 pp., ISBN: 978-85-99875-05-6.
Ruiz D, Arroyave MP, Gutierrez ME, and Zapata PA, 2011. Increased climatic stress on high-Andean ecosystems in the Cordillera Central of Colombia. Pages 182-191 in Herzog SK, Martinez R, Jorgensen PM, Tiessen H (eds.). Climate change and biodiversity in the Tropical Andes. MacArthur Foundation, Inter-American Institute of Global Change Research (IAI) and Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), Sao Jose dos Campos and Paris, 348 pp., ISBN: 978-85-99875-05-6.
Anderson EP, Marengo J, Villalba R, Halloy S, Young B, Cordero D, Gast F, Jaimes E, and Ruiz D, 2011. Consequences of climate change for ecosystems and ecosystem services in the Tropical Andes. Pages 1-18 in Herzog SK, Martinez R, Jorgensen PM, Tiessen H (eds.). Climate change and biodiversity in the Tropical Andes. MacArthur Foundation, Inter-American Institute of Global Change Research (IAI) and Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), Sao Jose dos Campos and Paris, 348 pp., ISBN: 978-85-99875-05-6.
Herzog SK, Jorgensen PM, Martinez R, Martius C, Anderson EP, Hole DG, Larsen TH, Marengo JA, Ruiz D, Tiessen H, 2010. Efectos del cambio climatico en la biodiversidad de los Andes tropicales: el estado del conocimiento cientifico. Inter-American Institute of Global Change Research (IAI), Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.
Ruiz D, 2010. Indo-Pacific and Tropical Atlantic EOF modes: contributions to the analyses of cloud cover conditions in the Los Nevados Natural Park, Colombian Central Mountain Range. Revista Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (EIA), ISSN 1794-1237, No. 14: 39-52.
Ruiz D, Moreno HA, Gutierrez ME, and Zapata PA, 2008. Changing climate and endangered high mountain ecosystems in Colombia. Science of the Total Environment 398 (1-3): 122-132.
Ruiz D, Connor S, and Thomson M, 2008. A multimodel framework in support of malaria surveillance and control. In: Seasonal Forecasts, Climatic Change, and Human Health, Health and Climate / Advances in Global Change Research Vol. 30; Madeleine C. Thomson, Ricardo Garcia Herrera and Martin Beniston (ed.), Springer Science + Business Media, Dordrecht; Publisher: Springer Netherlands, ISBN 978-1-4020-6876-8, Chapter VII, pp. 101-125. The Netherlands.
Ruiz D, Poveda G, Velez ID, Quinones ML, Rua GL, Velasquez LE, and Zuluaga JS, 2006. Modelling entomological-climatic interactions of Plasmodium falciparum malaria transmission in two Colombian endemic-regions: contributions to a National Malaria Early Warning System. Malaria Journal 5:66, available online at: Full article
Ruiz D, Ceron V, Molina AM, Quinones ML, Jimenez MM, Ahumada M, Gutierrez P, Osorio S, Mantilla G, Connor SJ, and Thomson MC. Implementation of malaria dynamical models in municipality-level Early Warning Systems in Colombia, Part I: description of study sites
Ruiz D, Ceron V, Molina AM, Quinones ML, Jimenez MM, Ahumada M, Gutierrez P, Cousin R, Osorio S, Mantilla G, Connor SJ, and Thomson MC. Implementation of malaria dynamical models in municipality-level Early Warning Systems in Colombia, Part II: preliminary results using observed weather and seasonal climate forecasts
Conference Proceedings/Abstracts/Presented Papers
Ruiz D, Ceron V, Thomson M, Connor S, Molina AM, Quinones ML, Jimenez MM, Ahumada M, Gutierrez P, Gutierrez ME, Zapata PA, Lopez C, Cousin R, Osorio S, and Mantilla G. Experience in the implementation of malaria dynamical models in the pilot sites of the Integrated National Adaptation Pilot project. XX Latin American Congress of Parasitology and XV Colombian Congress of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Bogota, Colombia, October, 2011.
Ruiz D, Ceron V, Thomson M, Connor S, Molina AM, Quinones ML, Jimenez MM, Ahumada M, Gutierrez P, Gutierrez ME, Zapata PA, Lopez C, Cousin R, Osorio S, and Mantilla G. Very promising but not yet fully convincing implementation of Plasmodium falciparum malaria dynamical models in Colombia. Fourth Biannual Colloquium on Climate and Health, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Boulder, Colorado (USA), July, 2011.
Ahumada ML, Gutierrez P, Orjuela LI, Ruiz D, Quinones ML. Gonotrophic cycle length of Anopheles darlingi Root 1926 (Diptera: Culicidae) under controlled laboratory conditions. 77th Annual Meeting of the American Mosquito Control Association. Anaheim, California (USA), March, 2011.
Ceron V, Ruiz D, Molina AM, Jimenez MM, Osorio S. Sistema Integrado de Vigilancia y Control de malaria como medida de adaptacion al cambio climatico en Colombia. I Congreso Internacional de Salud Ambiental -Ambiente Sano, Gente Sana-. Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico), October, 2010.
Ruiz D, Molina AM, Ceron V, Gutierrez P, Quinones ML, Jimenez MM, Thomson M, Connor S, Gutierrez ME, Zapata PA, Lopez C, Cousin R, Osorio S, Mantilla G. Simulating malaria transmission dynamics in the pilot sites of the Colombian Integrated National Adaptation Plan: steps forward of the Integrated Surveillance and Control System. 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Atlanta (USA), November, 2010.
Munoz AG, Ruiz D, Recalde C. Malaria biological models and dynamical downscaling for northwestern South America in the Observatorio Andino framework. ICID+18 / 2nd International Conference: Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions, Fortaleza, Ceara (Brazil), August, 2010.
Ruiz D, Arroyave MP, Gutierrez ME, Zapata PA. Increased Climatic Stress on High Altitude Ecosystems of the Colombian Central Mountain Range. Environmental Change and Water Resources on Neotropical Mountains Session, 2010 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC (USA), April,2010.
Representing the IRI around the World
I am currently conducting research projects on high-altitude environments in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. My activities on malaria simulation have included experiments in Botswana, Colombia, Ecuador, and Kenya.