Human Conflict

Climate disasters in conflict-prone regions

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Science  19 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6301, pp. 787
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6301.787-a

Climate deterioration may exacerbate conflict in war-torn, arid regions.

PHOTO: SIPPL SIPA USA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Does climate change have the potential to enhance the risks of conflict in human societies? Stroessner et al. studied patterns of conflict outbreaks and climate-related disasters in ethnically divided countries between 1980 and 2010. Almost one-quarter of conflicts coincided closely with climatic extremes, particularly drought. Affected regions included North Africa, the Levant, Syria, and Afghanistan. Although the patterns are largely correlational and the local and regional circumstances varied, the study suggests that climate deterioration may exacerbate societal instability in the affected regions.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1601611113 (2016).

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