The role of climate change on global malaria is often highlighted in World Health Organisation reports. We modelled a Zambian socio-environmental dataset from 2000 to 2016, against malaria trends and investigated the relationship of near-term environmental change with malaria incidence using Bayesian spatio-temporal, and negative binomial mixed regression models. We introduced the diurnal temperature range (DTR) as an alternative environmental measure to the widely used mean temperature. We found substantial sub-national near-term variations and significant associations with malaria incidence-trends. Significant spatio-temporal shifts in DTR/environmental predictors influenced malaria incidence-rates, even in areas with declining trends. We highlight the impact of seasonally sensitive DTR, especially in the first two quarters of the year and demonstrate how substantial investment in intervention programmes is negatively impacted by near-term climate change, most notably since 2010. We argue for targeted seasonally-sensitive malaria chemoprevention programmes.