Posts Tagged ‘human conflict’

Idiot Science! Human conflict caused by cooler climate and/or by hotter climate

August 2, 2013

Silly science can sometimes just be idiot “science” and no science at all.

One says warmer temperatures cause human conflict, another that colder climate does so.

The idiocy lies first in assuming that climate is the determining factor for the political, economic, social and behavioural stresses that cause conflict among humans and second in the classic idiocy that correlation is equal to causation.

1. Solomon M. Hsiang, Marshall Burke and Edward Miguel, Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human ConflictPublished Online August 1 2013, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1235367

Abstract: A rapidly growing body of research examines whether human conflict can be affected by climatic changes. Drawing from archaeology, criminology, economics, geography, history, political science, and psychology, we assemble and analyze the 60 most rigorous quantitative studies and document, for the first time, a remarkable convergence of results. We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. The magnitude of climate’s influence is substantial: for each 1 standard deviation (1σ) change in climate toward warmer temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal violence rises 4% and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14%. Because locations throughout the inhabited world are expected to warm 2 to 4σ by 2050, amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of anthropogenic climate change.

2. Ulf Büntgena, Tomáš Kyncld, Christian Ginzlera, David S. Jackse, Jan Esperf, Willy Tegelg, Karl-Uwe Heussnerh, and Josef Kyncld, Filling the Eastern European gap in millennium-long temperature reconstructions. Published online January 14, 2013, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1211485110.

Abstract: Tree ring–based temperature reconstructions form the scientific backbone of the current global change debate. Although some European records extend into medieval times, high-resolution, long-term, regional-scale paleoclimatic evidence is missing for the eastern part of the continent. Here we compile 545 samples of living trees and historical timbers from the greater Tatra region to reconstruct interannual to centennial-long variations in Eastern European May–June temperature back to 1040 AD. Recent anthropogenic warming exceeds the range of past natural climate variability. Increased plague outbreaks and political conflicts, as well as decreased settlement activities, coincided with temperature depressions. The Black Death in the mid-14th century, the Thirty Years War in the early 17th century, and the French Invasion of Russia in the early 19th century all occurred during the coldest episodes of the last millennium. A comparison with summer temperature reconstructions from Scandinavia, the Alps, and the Pyrenees emphasizes the seasonal and spatial specificity of our results, questioning those large-scale reconstructions that simply average individual sites.

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