AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

New research – climate change impacts on mankind (July 28, 2016)

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on July 28, 2016

Some of the latest papers on climate change impacts on mankind are shown below. First a few highlighted papers with abstracts and then a list of some other papers. If this subject interests you, be sure to check also the other papers – they are by no means less interesting than the highlighted ones.


Attributing human mortality during extreme heat waves to anthropogenic climate change (Mitchell et al. 2016)

Abstract: It has been argued that climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. The extreme high temperatures of the summer of 2003 were associated with up to seventy thousand excess deaths across Europe. Previous studies have attributed the meteorological event to the human influence on climate, or examined the role of heat waves on human health. Here, for the first time, we explicitly quantify the role of human activity on climate and heat-related mortality in an event attribution framework, analysing both the Europe-wide temperature response in 2003, and localised responses over London and Paris. Using publicly-donated computing, we perform many thousands of climate simulations of a high-resolution regional climate model. This allows generation of a comprehensive statistical description of the 2003 event and the role of human influence within it, using the results as input to a health impact assessment model of human mortality. We find large-scale dynamical modes of atmospheric variability remain largely unchanged under anthropogenic climate change, and hence the direct thermodynamical response is mainly responsible for the increased mortality. In summer 2003, anthropogenic climate change increased the risk of heat-related mortality in Central Paris by ~70% and by ~20% in London, which experienced lower extreme heat. Out of the estimated ~315 and ~735 summer deaths attributed to the heatwave event in Greater London and Central Paris, respectively, 64 (±3) deaths were attributable to anthropogenic climate change in London, and 506 (±51) in Paris. Such an ability to robustly attribute specific damages to anthropogenic drivers of increased extreme heat can inform societal responses to, and responsibilities for, climate change.

Climate change and migration in the Pacific: options for Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands (Constable, 2016)

Abstract: As climate change impacts, particularly rising sea levels, manifest there is a high probability that some island populations will be faced with the need to relocate. This article discusses several discourses around migration options for people affected by climate change impacts in small island developing states. Options currently available to citizens of the Pacific nations of Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands are explored, including the perspective that high levels of customary land tenure in the Pacific are a barrier to permanent movement to other Pacific countries. Migration to Pacific Rim countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA is complicated by strict migration eligibility criteria, which often require proof of language abilities and income, and may restrict the number of accompanying dependants. The Compact of Free Association provides visa-free entry to the USA for citizens of the Marshall Islands, but the lack of financial assistance restricts eligibility to those with existing financial resources or family networks that can provide access to capital. The difficulty of directly attributing single weather/climate events to climate change hinders the formulation of a definition of climate change-related migration. This obstacle in turn hinders the establishment of effective visa categories and migration routes for what is likely to become a growing number of people in coming decades.

Rural drinking water issues in India’s drought-prone area: a case of Maharashtra state (Udmale et al. 2016)

Abstract: Obtaining sufficient drinking water with acceptable quality under circumstances of lack, such as droughts, is a challenge in drought-prone areas of India. This study examined rural drinking water availability issues during a recent drought (2012) through 22 focus group discussions (FGDs) in a drought-prone catchment of India. Also, a small chemical water quality study was undertaken to evaluate the suitability of water for drinking purpose based on Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The drought that began in 2011 and further deteriorated water supplies in 2012 caused a rapid decline in reservoir storages and groundwater levels that led, in turn, to the failure of the public water supply systems in the Upper Bhima Catchment. Dried up and low-yield dug wells and borewells, tanker water deliveries from remote sources, untimely water deliveries, and degraded water quality were the major problems identified in the FGDs. In addition to severe drinking water scarcity during drought, the quality of the drinking water was found to be a major problem, and it apparently was neglected by local governments and users. Severe contamination of the drinking water with nitrate-nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen, and chlorides was found in the analyzed drinking water samples. Hence, in addition to the water scarcity, the results of this study point to an immediate need to investigate the problem of contaminated drinking water sources while designing relief measures for drought-prone areas of India.

Climate change impacts on European agriculture revisited: adding the economic dimension of grasslands (Aghajanzadeh-Darzi et al. 2016)

Abstract: Forage and more widely grassland systems are difficult to analyze in economic terms because a large proportion of what is produced is not marketed. Economic misestimation of these farm products may dramatically alter projected climate change impacts. This study estimates the economic value of grass and assesses the impact of climatic variations on grassland–livestock systems by taking various environmental and climatic factors into account. Accordingly, grass yield responses to nitrogen inputs (N-yield functions) have been simulated using the grassland biogeochemical PaSim model and then fed into the economic farm-type supply AROPAj model. We developed a computational method to estimate shadow prices of grass production, allowing us to better estimate the effects of climatic variability on grassland and crop systems. This approach has been used on a European scale under two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate scenarios (AR4 A2 and B1). Results show a significant change in land use over time. Accordingly, due to decreases in feed expenses, farmers may increase livestock, thereby increasing overall greenhouse gas emissions for all scenarios considered. As part of autonomous adaptation by farming systems, N-yield functions extending to pastures and fodders allow us to improve the model and to refine results when marketed and non-marketed crops are considered in a balanced way.

Impacts of Climate Change on the Collapse of Lowland Maya Civilization (Douglas et al. 2016)

Abstract: Paleoclimatologists have discovered abundant evidence that droughts coincided with collapse of the Lowland Classic Maya civilization, and some argue that climate change contributed to societal disintegration. Many archaeologists, however, maintain that drought cannot explain the timing or complex nature of societal changes at the end of the Classic Period, between the eighth and eleventh centuries ce. This review presents a compilation of climate proxy data indicating that droughts in the ninth to eleventh century were the most severe and frequent in Maya prehistory. Comparison with recent archaeological evidence, however, indicates an earlier beginning for complex economic and political processes that led to the disintegration of states in the southern region of the Maya lowlands that precedes major droughts. Nonetheless, drought clearly contributed to the unusual severity of the Classic Maya collapse, and helped to inhibit the type of recovery seen in earlier periods of Maya prehistory. In the drier northern Maya Lowlands, a later political collapse at ca. 1000 ce appears to be related to ongoing extreme drought. Future interdisciplinary research should use more refined climatological and archaeological data to examine the relationship between climate and social processes throughout the entirety of Maya prehistory.

Other papers

Death from respiratory diseases and temperature in Shiraz, Iran (2006–2011) (Dadbakhsh et al. 2016)

Food security in the face of climate change: Adaptive capacity of small-scale social-ecological systems to environmental variability (Pérez et al. 2016)

Precipitation Effects on Motor Vehicle Crashes Vary by Space, Time and Environmental Conditions (Tamerius et al. 2016)

The potential for adoption of climate smart agricultural practices in Sub-Saharan livestock systems (de Jalón et al. 2016)

Can Gridded Precipitation Data and Phenological Observations Reduce Basis Risk of Weather Index-based Insurance? (Dalhaus et al. 2016)

Sea surface temperature impacts on winter cropping systems in the Iberian Peninsula (Capa-Morocho et al. 2016)

Separating the effects of phenology and diffuse radiation on gross primary productivity in winter wheat (Williams et al. 2016)

Risk matrix approach useful in adapting agriculture to climate change (Cobon et al. 2016)

Heat-related mortality: Effect modification and adaptation in Japan from 1972 to 2010 (Ng et al. 2016)

The effect of extreme cold temperatures on the risk of death in the two major Portuguese cities (Antunes et al. 2016)

Social and cultural issues raised by climate change in Pacific Island countries: an overview (Weir et al. 2016)

Protein futures for Western Europe: potential land use and climate impacts in 2050 (Röös et al. 2016)

“Climate change damages”, conceptualization of a legal notion with regard to reparation under international law (Kugler & Sariego, 2016)

Temperature deviation index and elderly mortality in Japan (Lim et al. 2016)

Climatic influence on corn sowing date in the Midwestern United States (Choi et al. 2016)

New Zealand kiwifruit growers’ vulnerability to climate and other stressors (Cradock-Henry, 2016)

Climate change impacts and adaptive strategies: lessons from the grapevine (Mosedale et al. 2016)

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