Failed states and climate catastrophe

Failed states and climate catastrophe

Fig. 1: the "groundwater storage anomaly" according to grace. Brown regions lost water in 2015 compared to the 2002-2015 period. Regions in blue have gained water. The color intensity is proportional to the loss or gain of water. Gain. Image: nasa

According to satellite imagery and geological quantities, the failed "arab spring" have a climate component

While republican candidates in the u.S. Election campaign are still competing to see who can most stridently deny global warming, others, such as nasa and dlr, are working to meng its effects around the world.

Grace (gravity recovery and climate experiment) project has two satellites flying around the earth in a polar orbit. The distance between the two is measured with high precision using gps and microwaves – each change provides information about the earth’s gravitational pull on a mass in orbit. The experiment has been running for several years, and so time series have been established showing how the water stored in the different continents (which is particularly massive and gravitationally effective) has changed. Fig. 1 shows for april 2015, with false colors, the difference in stored water relative to the average of the period 2002-2015.1 the browner a region of the world, the more water it tends to have lost. The bluer, the more water she has gained.

Failed states and climate catastrophe

Fig. 1: the "groundwater storage anomaly" according to grace. Brown regions have lost water in 2015 in comparison with the period 2002-2015. Regions in blue have gained water. The intensity of the color is proportional to the loss, or rather the loss of the face. Gain. Image: nasa

The picture shows dramatic changes. California z.B. Has been suffering from extreme drought and drought for years. The melting of the north pole can also be clearly observed in the figure. In alaska, glaciers are shrinking. In the middle east, iraq, syria, iran, israel and egypt are particularly affected. Libya and tunisia have also lost a great deal of water. Other regions such as mexico or northern russia have received more rain on balance.

Hunger and political instability

Back in 2011, the new england complex systems institute (necsi) presented a study linking the unrest in north africa and the middle east to increases in food prices.2 abb. 2 shows the correspondence between the fao (food and agriculture organization) index for staple foods and the political unrest in some countries, as calculated by necsi.

Failed states and climate disaster

Fig. 2: time trend of the fao food price index (vertical axis). Riots in various are indicated and clearly correspond with price increases. The numbers in brackets represent the number of dead during the riots.

From 2004 to 2008 there was almost a doubling in the fao index, which was immediately accompanied by political unrest in african and asian countries. For the year 2008, 60 "food riots" paid in 30 different countries. In 2011 there was a new peak, this time coinciding with the fall of several governments in the region. Especially in 2011 there were many deaths (the numbers in brackets) in all those riots. According to the analysis of necsi, several factors play a role in the price increases, including the conversion of arable land for the production of ethanol.

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