Article

Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria

Authors:
  • Pacific Institute, Oakland
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

The devastating civil war that began in Syria in March 2011 is the result of complex interrelated factors. The focus of the conflict is regime change, but the triggers include a broad set of religious and sociopolitical factors, the erosion of the economic health of the country, a wave of political reform sweeping over the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Levant region, and challenges associated with climate variability and change and the availability and use of freshwater. As described here, water and climatic conditions have played a direct role in the deterioration of Syria's economic conditions. There is a long history of conflicts over water in these regions because of the natural water scarcity, the early development of irrigated agriculture, and complex religious and ethnic diversity. In recent years, there has been an increase in incidences of water-related violence around the world at the subnational level attributable to the role that water plays in development disputes and economic activities. Because conflicts are rarely, if ever, attributable to single causes, conflict analysis and concomitant efforts at reducing the risks of conflict must consider a multitude of complex relationships and contributing factors. This paper assesses the complicated connections between water and conflict in Syria, looks more broadly at future climate-related risks for water systems, and offers some water management strategies for reducing those risks.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... In 2015, Kelley published an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which yielded massive media attention and has been cited more than 1300 times, according to Google Scholar. The debate reached a peak in 2017 ( fig. 1 below), when Selby et al. (2017b) published an article criticising Gleick (2014) and Kelley et al. (2015). This led to three consecutive responses (Gleick, 2017;Hendrix, 2017;Kelley et al., 2017) and a rejoinder (Selby et al., 2017a). ...
... Ash and Obradovich, 2020;Kelley et al., 2015), qualitative (e.g. De Châtel, 2014;Feitelson and Tubi, 2017;Fröhlich, 2016;Gleick, 2014;Gürcan, 2019;Selby, 2018) and more mixed approaches (e.g. Eklund and Thompson, 2017;Selby et al., 2017b). ...
... To analyze the relationship between the drought and migration, as well as the large-scale migration and the Syrian war, the authors revisit the works of Werrell et al. (2015), Gleick (2014), Kelley et al. (2015), as well as Frölich's (2016) interviews with Syrian refugees. Selby et al. consider that while the drought years saw increased migration, the scale of migration and the extent to which migration was driven by drought is overstated by Femia and Werrell, Gleick, and Kelley et al., as the evidence indicates that not 1.5-2 million people were displaced, but rather 40,000-60,000 families, and that economic liberalization policies of Bashar al-Assad -namely removal of subsidies, trade liberalization, privatization of state farms -had more influence on migration patterns than drought. ...
Research
Full-text available
This annotated bibliography is an article-by-article summary of the peer reviewed literature published on the climate-conflict nexus in Syria. It currently includes 19 articles where drought after 2005 is discussed together with the Syrian uprising turning into a civil war in 2011.
... Gleick, 2014). In this regard, increasing conflicts over water resources arise from claims between two or more stakeholders in relation to the allocation or use of a shared water resource flowing along similar flow paths (OECD, 2005; Thomas et al., 2013), rooted in competition for survival, cultural values (Funder et al., 2010), or perhaps the product of circumstances (Coleman, 1955).In such context, many latent conflicts have become manifest (Funder et al., 2010). ...
... Certainly, part of this increase can be related to improvements in reporting processes: new internet tools that permit a more comprehensive collection and dissemination of news and information (Gleick & Heberger, 2012), while there appears to be a growing interest in identifying and representing high-risk areas in water shortage (Madani, 2010). It is becoming increasingly clear that many local and regional water-related conflicts that take place in transboundary settings are likely growing in number and intensity (Postel & Wolf, 2001;Ravnborg, 2004;Kreamer, 2012;Gleick, 2014) with no idea of its cause (Funder et al., 2010). It can be said that the nature of the conflicts has been changed from international to local water conflicts (Gleick & Heberger, 2012). ...
... This assumption results from incompatibility or opposition in goals, activities, or interaction among the social entities (Shariq Abbas & Singh, 2012). This behavior has emerged from water parties claiming their share of water (Kreamer, 2012;Gleick, 2014). Indeed, exploitation of common water resources leads to conflict and tragedy of the common resources. ...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding water conflict behaviors and their contributing factors is critical for developing effective agricultural water resource management. Hence, this paper examines how water conflict behaviors are addressed in a model guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior and whether there is a potential to develop the model further to include quality of life (QoL), perception of water crisis, sense of place, and social capital in explaining the farmers' water conflicts. Stratified random sampling was used to survey 212 farmers in the villages that benefited from the Gawshan dam in the Kermanshah region, Iran. Based on the results, the causal role of subjective norms in influencing intention to manifest conflict has not been established, while low social capital was of importance for intention to create conflict. Furthermore, low QoL, as well as high perception of water crisis, was found to be important for attitude formation toward conflict. These results enrich the empirical evidence in support of improving the understanding of farmers' water conflict behaviors. HIGHLIGHTS Water conflict behaviors are addressed in a model guided by the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB).; Additional constructs (quality of life (QoL), perception of water crisis, sense of place, and social capital) were included in the TPB.; Social capital was of importance for conflict intention.; QoL and perception of water crisis were found to be important for attitude toward conflict.;
... Most of the research on the climate-conflict nexus in the Middle East focuses on climate change and the Arab Spring revolutions, specifically in Syria. It has been argued that this played a role in the Syrian uprising and Arab Spring protests in 2011 (Gleick 2014(Gleick , 2019. ...
... Syria's 3-year drought from 2006 to 2009, and the subsequent drought in 2017 and 2018 resulted in significant losses of agricultural livelihood and food insecurity, triggering mass rural-to-urban migration as well as transnational migration (Ide 2018;Kelley et al. 2015). Gleick (2014Gleick ( , 2019 argues that the ongoing conflict in Syria is intrinsically linked to climate risk. With droughts, water has also become both a driver of conflict and a weapon used by both state actors and rebel groups. ...
... With droughts, water has also become both a driver of conflict and a weapon used by both state actors and rebel groups. 4 The congregation of migrants in urban settings of Syria facing unemployment, poor infrastructure, population growth, and political repression has been associated with the onset of protests and the subsequent civil war (De Châtel 2014;Gleick 2014Gleick , 2019Ide 2018: 347;Kelley et al. 2015: 3242). In Syria as well as Iraq and Yemen, water systems and structures are often deliberately targeted, leaving residents without water for drinking, sanitation, or irrigation (see also ICRC 2020: 30). ...
Article
Full-text available
The literature that examines the nexus of climate risk and armed conflict tends to be based on quantitative datasets and focuses on the causal relationship between the two issues. A limited number of studies consider the human dimensions of this nexus, but this literature has not been the subject of a synthesis. This article reviews the research examining the climate risk and armed conflict nexus, with specific emphasis on field studies and qualitative research. It aims to synthesize key findings emerging from the literature in order to shed light on the human dimensions of this nexus. Our analysis focuses on two broad themes: exposure and response. Exposure varies according to regional particularities and across locations while gender and weak political institutions are significant determinants in further increasing vulnerability. Response to the experience of the climate risk and armed conflict nexus consists primarily of various forms of migration. We also draw attention to specific directions for future research efforts to better understand the human dimensions of the climate-conflict nexus. This includes methodological considerations, attention to the anticipated aggravation of geopolitical realities through climate risk, and the identification of countries having a high climate risk index, and which are experiencing ongoing armed conflict.
... In the first approach, water conflicts are perceived as having the potential to escalate and to tear the social fabric with social unrest and violence (Homer-Dixon, 1994;. Gleick (2014) pinpointed the emergence of the Syrian civil war on a prolonged drought; and concluded on the need to implement demand management strategies such as modernization of agriculture to prevent future conflicts. This type of analysis brings about interesting questions, like should we attempt to predict the occurrences of conflicts around the world by mapping the conditions that enable them? ...
... This approach conceives feeble governance institutions as vulnerable to water crises. In that sense, conflicts are the reflection of governance failures, which mainly did not follow recipe-like best practices (i.e., Gleick, 2014, Mach et al., 2019. Allan (1999) considers that such best practices can be politically unfeasible at best; but also, they could be part of the problem by masking poor implementation and structural shortcomings with inequitable results (Chapter 2 of this thesis). ...
... This approach conspicuously showcased the Syrian conflict as an example of how social conflicts can be triggered by disruptions in hydro-climatic trends due to climate change (Gleick, 2014;. Some authors embracing this approach recommend recipe-like conclusions like modernizing agriculture to improve water efficiency and negotiate better water allocation agreements among nations. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis is about a number of rural communities resisting flooding and the eradication of their ancestry, history and culture by opposing the implementation and imposition of a large dam in rural Mexico that would supply water to two large cities. The importance of this case lies in the unlikely odds of not only resisting a State-led, large-scale infrastructure project for almost two decades, but also building a grassroots movement that grew in extent, scope and scale to advocate for a comprehensive water management transformation in Mexico. The scientific analysis of the conflict and this grassroots movement, informally dubbed ‘Temaca’, contributed to several scientific fields including water conflicts, transition management, science-policy processes, socio-hydrology and transdisciplinary action research. The analysis of the case study shows how politics influences science by defining a limited decision space that can only superficially address the serious water problems of large cities. As a result, cities follow a development pathway that may deepen their water problems in the long term. Therefore, water conflicts and grassroots movements play a crucial role in opening the decision space. This thesis demonstrates that through transdisciplinary action research, scientific knowledge can become actionable and relevant; addressing power asymmetries and finding sound alternative water management solutions that are more equitable and sustainable.
... Studies and media reports have, to varying extents, linked the 2011 political protests in Syria, and the ensuing civil war, to the severe drought that affected the Middle East between 2007 and 2009 [23][24][25] . The reasons behind the Syrian uprising are complex and manifold. ...
... Here we discuss the extent to which the 2007-09 Middle East drought produced an agricultural collapse, subsequent migration, and indirectly contributed to the conflict in Syria. Studies of the Syrian drought follow the general approach in the literaturerelying largely on meteorological data [23][24][25]34 and leaving the crucial question of how the drought-affected agricultural activity and productivity unanswered. As a result, the question of whether or not the drought has contributed to, or even triggered, the Syrian conflict continues to be debated and has reached a dead end-with diverging interpretations of the scant evidence that exists on the agricultural decline and migration 29,34,36,[44][45][46] . ...
... The years 2010 and 2013 had low levels of fallowness, with around 90% of cropland actively being cultivated. The years 2006 and 2007, which are sometimes described as drought years 23,24,26 , also had a below-median fallowness with only 15% and 16%, respectively. Fallowness patterns largely followed dryness patterns, as measured by the 6-month Standard Precipitation-Evaporation Index (SPEI6, Fig. 2A). ...
Article
Full-text available
Droughts are often suspected to increase the risk of violent conflict through agricultural production shocks, and existing studies often explore these links through meteorological proxies. In Syria, an alleged agricultural collapse caused by drought is assumed to have contributed to increased migration and the conflict outbreak in 2011. Here we use satellite derived cropland and climate data to study land use dynamics in relation to drought and conflict in Syria. We show that claims of an agricultural collapse cannot be substantiated as croplands saw a fast recovery after the 2007-2009 drought. Our study highlights the importance of considering land-use dynamics for understanding linkages between meteorological droughts, agricultural impacts, migration and conflict. Furthermore, our results suggest that the influential drought-migration-conflict narrative for Syria needs to be reexamined , with implications for wider discussions of how climate change might alter conflict risk.
... A rcheological and historical studies have proposed linkages among global climate change, societal instability, violent conflict, and sociopolitical collapse [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] , but also instances of resilience, transformation and sustainability in the face of climate pressures [8][9][10] . The influence of climate change on civil conflict in the last century has also been the focus of compelling statistical studies 11,12 , and an important nexus for debate, revealing the importance of human agency and unexpected, nonlinear relationships between climate and human behavior [13][14][15][16][17][18][19] . Longer-term climatic, archeological, and historical records can contribute to these contemporary debates, but demand a rigorous transdisciplinary framework that bridges natural and social systems 8,18 . ...
... We used Generalized Linear Modeling (GLM) to examine the relationships among climate change, fluctuations in population size/nucleation (SPD), and osteological data indicative of internal conflict during Mayapan's entire occupational history (~1100-1450 cal. CE; Fig. 3 [15][16]. Osteological data from directly radiocarbondated human skeletal material (associated with civil conflict) were compared with local/regional climate data. ...
Article
Full-text available
The influence of climate change on civil conflict and societal instability in the premodern world is a subject of much debate, in part because of the limited temporal or disciplinary scope of case studies. We present a transdisciplinary case study that combines archeological, historical, and paleoclimate datasets to explore the dynamic, shifting relationships among climate change, civil conflict, and political collapse at Mayapan, the largest Postclassic Maya capital of the Yucatán Peninsula in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries CE. Multiple data sources indicate that civil conflict increased significantly and generalized linear modeling correlates strife in the city with drought conditions between 1400 and 1450 cal. CE. We argue that prolonged drought escalated rival factional tensions, but subsequent adaptations reveal regional-scale resiliency, ensuring that Maya political and economic structures endured until European contact in the early sixteenth century CE. The influence of climate on premodern civil conflict and societal instability is debated. Here, the authors combine archeological, historical, and paleoclimatic datasets to show that drought between 1400-1450 cal. CE escalated civil conflict at Mayapan, the largest Postclassic Maya capital of the Yucatán Peninsula.
... The influence of climate change and population pressure on violence and social instability remains a critically important topic in archaeology and the broader social sciences. Yet, the majority of studies on this topic focus on the last century, when climatic conditions were relatively stable (1)(2)(3)(4)(5). Modeled projections of anthropogenic change suggest that climate regimes will become increasingly volatile with prolonged droughts in the coming decades (6,7), making studies of past human responses to climate across a greater range of variation all the more vital. ...
... The resulting resource competition promoted intense violence that manifested in over 450 y of internecine warfare. These results suggest that local climate is a significant factor in escalating violence, as others have suggested (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)20), but it is mediated by population density. This mediated relationship suggests that, counterintuitively, ameliorating climate conditions may produce societal instability by promoting rapid population expansion and increased resource strain, particularly in circumscribed areas. ...
Article
Understanding the influence of climate change and population pressure on human con- flict remains a critically important topic in the social sciences. Long-term records that evaluate these dynamics across multiple centuries and outside the range of modern climatic variation are especially capable of elucidating the relative effect of—and the interaction between—climate and demography. This is crucial given that climate change may structure population growth and carrying capacity, while both climate and population influence per capita resource availability. This study couples paleoclimatic and demographic data with osteological evaluations of lethal trauma from 149 directly accelerator mass spectrometry 14C-dated individuals from the Nasca highland region of Peru. Multiple local and supraregional precipitation proxies are combined with a summed probability distribution of 149 14C dates to estimate population dynamics during a 700-y study window. Counter to previous findings, our analysis reveals a pre- cipitous increase in violent deaths associated with a period of productive and stable climate, but volatile population dynamics. We conclude that favorable local climate conditions fostered population growth that put pressure on the marginal and highly circumscribed resource base, resulting in violent resource competition that manifested in over 450 y of internecine warfare. These findings help support a general theory of intergroup violence, indicating that relative resource scarcity—whether driven by reduced resource abundance or increased competition—can lead to violence in subsistence societies when the outcome is lower per capita resource availability.
... Accordingly, the likelihood of old and new conflicts arising from climate change in Central Asia is understudied. This is especially surprising given that climate change has been increasingly characterized as a global security issue by international scholars since the early 2000s (Mayer 2012;McDonald 2018), and the climate change-conflict nexus has been comprehensively studied in other parts of the world such as the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia (e.g., Couttenier and Soubeyran 2013;Gleick 2014;Buhaug et al. 2015;Caruso, Petrarca and Ricciuti 2016;Overland and Vakulchuk 2017). ...
... One body of academic scholarship has focused on the interaction between climate change, water, drought, and conflict in the Middle East (e.g., Gleick 2014). This analytical framework is particularly relevant to Central Asia where water scarcity and drought are the main outcomes of the changing climate. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article assesses the extent to which the academic community engaged with climate change in Central Asia between 1991 and 2021. The article finds that climate change has been neglected in the field of Central Asia area studies. Out of a total 13,488 journal articles in eight key journals for Central Asia research, only 33 articles (0.24%) were on climate change or a related topic. Climate change has been similarly neglected at the events of 17 Central Asia area studies associations. Out of 1305 conference panels, none was focused on climate change. Out of 10,249 individual presentations, only two (0.02%) were focused on climate change. The very same scholars who have been most active in the securitization of Central Asia have ignored the severe security threats that climate change poses to the region. The article contributes to the field of Central Asian studies by drawing attention to severe knowledge gaps that hinder the Central Asian countries from adapting to climate change. It concludes with six recommendations.
... For instance, several studies have cited a historically severe drought in Syria which resulted in the breakdown of agriculture in the rural areas creating widespread food shortages. This drought drove widespread rural-urban migration, particularly to the large cities of Syria (Gleick, 2014;Kelley et al., 2015). In fact, it has been estimated that 1.5 million people moved to the larger urban areas. ...
Article
In recent years, there has been increasing research on the impact of climate change related processes on the occurrence of conflicts in different parts of the world. Analysis of conflicts over extended time periods indicate the possible role of climate change and climate variability on the occurrence of conflicts, particularly in the tropics. With the recent release of the UCDP georeferenced dataset on specific locations of conflicts between 1989 and 2014, we can now examine the temporal patterns of conflicts at a finer spatial resolution. In this study, the role of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on the spatio-temporal patterns of conflicts has been analyzed by using a variety of geospatial analysis techniques. The results of the analysis reveal that there were a greater number of conflicts during El Niño years at both the global and continental scale (except North America). In addition, the spatial patterns of conflicts showed greater concentration of intensifying and consecutive hot spots in South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Africa during El Niño years vs. La Niña years. Specifically, intensifying hot spots of conflicts overlapped with the relatively arid and semi-arid areas of the Global South.
... Food insecurity affects at least two billion people worldwide (Wheeler & von Braun, 2013) and has significant implications for global health (Black et al., 2013;FAO, 2017;Jyoti et al., 2005), poverty and inequality (Hamelin et al., 1999;Olson, 1999), conflicts (De Châtel, 2014;Gleick, 2014) and migration (Rademacher-Schulz et al., 2014;Warner & Afifi, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite its prominence within food security debates, Food Sovereignty is still a developing and contested concept. This article illustrates two of the tensions within the Food Sovereignty literature through an analysis of the foodways of the Rama indigenous group in Nicaragua. Firstly, the results show that there is considerable heterogeneity in how the Rama source their food and that, for most Rama, engagement with the market economy is critical to ensuring their own food security. This presents a further challenge to the idea that Food Sovereignty should only promote a one-size-fits-all “small-scale farming” approach to food security. Secondly, the paper shows there is considerable conflict over resources between the Rama and Pacific Nicaraguans who have encroached on their territory. This finding reinforces the view that Food Sovereignty needs to be further developed to be able to give clear direction in similar instances. This article concludes by arguing that although these tensions need to be resolved in order to boost the utility of Food Sovereignty on the ground, the concept can provide a useful theoretical arena in which to highlight the food security threats that are faced by communities like the Rama.
... 63 In like fashion, the civil war in Syria was attributed to changes in regional climate and precipitation patterns. 64 In the Horn of Africa, in 2011, droughts led to food shortage, harming 13 million people, and in Somalia, it has claimed the lives of over 250,000 people. 65 One chain reaction of these dynamics, starvation-struck individuals would migrate, as refugees or internally displaced persons (IDP). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
The global system of food and agriculture is constrained by finite resources, it is prone to operational instability, it fails to prevent famine and micronutrient deficiencies, and it is a prime contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and ecosystems collapse. If left unattended, the system may engender further global catastrophic risks (GCRs). However, interventions employed by the food science, technology and policy communities are ineffective, if not counterproductive. Incremental modifications to the system will neither achieve food security nor avoid ecological degradation. This paper draws on primary and secondary sources, expert interviews and system dynamics models, to analyze and illustrate how the food system is organized and functions in self-undermining, self-debilitating dynamics, disrupting yields and supply chains, and resulting in GCRs. Based on this analysis, and informed by system dynamics literature, a set of interventions is proposed with the potential to mitigate the triple ecological-nutritional-social risks engendered by modern food and agriculture.
... In addition, scholars argue that though water quantity conflict in transboundary rivers is influenced by factors such as political and legal agreements, the major factor is still water stress. To be specific, political and legal agreements are based on the independent variable-physical water stress [11][12][13][14][15][16]. It means water stress is a key reason for water quantity conflict. ...
Article
Full-text available
Water stress in countries within a drainage basin exacerbates the water quantity conflict in transboundary rivers. However, few studies considered the invisible effect of virtual water transfer on water quantity conflict by intensifying water stress. Therefore, this study, with Ili River as the case, collects data on Virtual Water Trade (VWT) from 1990 to 2015, uses water stress index (WSI) to assess water stress values under two scenarios (with or without virtual water transfer), and takes Grey Verhulst Model to predict two scenarios water stress values respectively. Next, based on the Levenberg—Marquardt (LM) Algorithm, this study compares the water quantity conflict intensity of the two scenarios, and further explores the invisible effect of virtual water transfer on the conflicts among transboundary rivers. Results show: (1) During the study period (1990–2015), water stress in China and Kazakhstan along the banks of Ili River increased in general. (2) China was basically a net exporter of virtual water during 1990–1995, and Kazakhstan became a net exporter after 1995. (3) During 2020–2025, water conflict value of Ili River without virtual water transfer is 0.458, while the value rises to 0.622 with virtual water transfer, indicating that virtual water transfer between China and Kazakhstan has an invisible enhancement on the water quantity conflict of Ili River. (4) The intensified water quantity conflict is mainly caused by the more and more serious water stress in Kazakhstan. On such basis, it is more urgent for Kazakhstan to restructure its economy and trade.
... Increasing temperatures have made the Earth vulnerable to several issues such as the sea-level rise and associated issues of coastal erosion, flooding, saline water intrusion and infrastructural damages (Nazarnia et al. 2020). Extreme weather conditions such as increased frequency of cyclones (Knutson et al. 2010), flood, drought (Prospero et al. 2003;Gleick 2014) and forest fire (Flannigan et al. 2006) have also been noted in recent years. 8 could stand at around 5.6 BT in the business-as-usual scenario when as per India's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), non-fossil fuels would contribute to 40% of its total electricity installed capacity (Section 3.3). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
ABSTRACT: Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a three-tier process- carbon capture, transport and storage. The capture consists of pre-combustion, oxy-combustion and post-combustion capture. Transport of CO2 is most viable through pipelines. The biotic CO2storage occurs through terrestrial or oceanic pathways and can be simulated naturally or artificially. The abiotic/geologic storage is achieved through sequestering CO2 in depleting/depleted hydrocarbon reserves, in deep saline aquifers or through mineral carbonation. At the district level, 64 out of 641 districts (2013 government reports) accounted for ~ 60% of the total CO2 emissions. Controlling CO2 emissions comes with the challenge of sustainable socio-economic growth of the country- a demanding task for the economy. Indian organizations have made international collaborations. India holds a substantial geological sequestration potential in its basaltic rocks, coal seams, depleted oil reserves, soils, deep saline aquifers and sedimentary basins. At this point, no carbon capture and storage / clean development mechanism projects are operational in the country. The next 10-15 years would be very crucial for India to attain technological advancement to deploy large-scale CCS projects.
... Conflict and political instability have also exacerbated food insecurity. In Syria, the only country in the Levant that was food self-sufficient before the war, conflict has caused severe food shortages by decimating crop yields and destroying agricultural infrastructure (Ababsa, 2018), intensifying food insecurity due to recurring drought in the pre-war period from 2006-2011 (Gleick, 2014). Displacement in Syria has also had spill-over effects for neighbouring Lebanon, where Syrian refugees comprise almost one third of the population (Swain and Jägerskog, 2016), putting pressure on the country's fragile food system, which imports 90% of its cereals (FAO, 2020a). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This MSc dissertation explores the impacts of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food security of displaced Syrian farmworkers in Lebanon and northern Syria, drawing on remote visual ethnography and household surveys.
... land use and climate). There is evidence relating past changes in temperature and precipitation to the onset of armed conflict through region-specific mechanisms (Scheffran et al., 2012;Hsiang et al., 2013;Gleick, 2014;Schleussner et al., 2016;Werrell and Femia, 2017;Sterzel et al., 2014), suggesting that if future populations respond similarly to past populations, then anthropogenic climate change has the potential to substantially increase conflict around the world, relative to a world without climate change. ...
Thesis
Um das 1,5°C Ziel zu verhindern, müssen bis 2020 die globalen anthropogenen CO2 Emissionen Sektor-übergreifend ihren Spitzenwert erreichen und bis 2050 auf Netto-Null-Emissionen sinken. Der AFOLU Sektor hat einen Anteil von 23% an den globalen Treibhausgasemissionen (THGE). Neben der Möglichkeit THGE zu vermeiden, bietet die Implementierung von Klimaschutzmitigation auch Synergien um die Ernährungssicherheit, Nährstoff- und Wassereffizienz zu verbessern sowie Landdegradation umzukehren. Eine kritische Bedeutung hat die Abholzung von tropischen Waldflächen durch die mehr als ein Drittel der Emissionen im Bereich des AFOLU entsteht. Vor diesem Hintergrund werden vorliegend, mit Fokus auf die Abholzung in der tropischen Zone, die indirekten Auslöser der THGE innerhalb des AFOLU untersucht. Diese Auslöser werden zunächst auf einer globalen Skala analysiert, wobei die Rolle der Variabilität von Preisveränderungen international gehandelter Waren und weiterer sozio-ökonomischer Indikatoren auf regionale Waldumwandlungsprozesse betrachtet wird. Anschließend analysiert diese Arbeit den Aspekt des Waldverlustes im Zusammenhang mit politischer Instabilität und bewaffneten Konflikten. Zudem werden regionale Lösungen zur Mitigation in weiteren Sektoren adressiert. Insbesondere wird die Möglichkeit zur THGE-Einsparung in silvopastoralen Systemen untersucht um das Zusammenspiel zwischen intensiver Viehbewirtschaftung und der Kohlenstofffixierung besser zu verstehen. Darüber hinaus werden regionale Lösungen mit Hilfe von Basisorganisationen bzw. gemeindebasierten Initiativen (CBI) zur THGE-Einsparung in den Bereichen Energie, Nahrungsmittel, Transport und Abfall erforscht. Diese Arbeit liefert vielfältige Beiträge zum Verständnis der indirekten Auslöser von Abholzung und den damit verbundenen THGE innerhalb der tropischen Zone, sowie zur Förderung lokaler Lösungen für die sektorübergreifende THG-Minderung.
... Water scarcity is a major concern across the globe, especially in arid and semi-arid regions (Alcamo et al., 2007;Arnell, 1999;Vörösmarty et al., 2000). Water scarcity is further intensified by climate variability and change, population and economic growth, land cover/use change, and poor water management (Gleick et al., 2020;Gleick, 2014Gleick, , 1993, and can induce grave socio-environmental challenges, such as the global epidemic of degrading and disappearing inland water bodies (Gain et al., 2016;Hassani et al., 2020;Pengra, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Inland lakes face unprecedented pressures from climatic and anthropogenic stresses, causing their recession and desiccation globally. Climate change is increasingly blamed for such environmental degradation, but in many regions, direct anthropogenic pressures compound, and sometimes supersede, climatic factors. This study examined a human-environmental system – the terminal Hamun Lakes on the Iran-Afghanistan border – that embodies amplified challenges of inland waters. Satellite and climatic data from 1984 to 2019 were fused, which documented that the Hamun Lakes lost 89% of their surface area between 1999 and 2001 (3809 km² versus 410 km²), coincident with a basin-wide, multi-year meteorological drought. The lakes continued to shrink afterwards and desiccated in 2012, despite the above-average precipitation in the upstream basin. Rapid growth in irrigated agricultural lands occurred in upstream Afghanistan in the recent decade, consuming water that otherwise would have fed the Hamun Lakes. Compounding upstream anthropogenic stressors, Iran began storing flood water that would have otherwise drained to the lakes, for urban and agricultural consumption in 2009. Results from a deep Learning model of Hamun Lakes' dynamics indicate that the average lakes' surface area from 2010 to 2019 would have been 2.5 times larger without increasing anthropogenic stresses across the basin. The Hamun Lakes' desiccation had major socio-environmental consequences, including loss of livelihood, out-migration, dust-storms, and loss of important species in the region.
... Increasing temperatures have made the Earth vulnerable to several issues such as the sea-level rise and associated issues of coastal erosion, flooding, saline water intrusion and infrastructural damages (Nazarnia et al. 2020). Extreme weather conditions such as increased frequency of cyclones (Knutson et al. 2010), flood, drought (Prospero et al. 2003;Gleick 2014) and forest fire (Flannigan et al. 2006) have also been noted in the recent years. ...
Article
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a three-tier process-carbon capture, transport and storage. The capture consists of pre-combustion, oxy-combustion and post-combustion capture. Transport of CO2 is most viable through pipelines. The biotic CO2storage occurs through terrestrial or oceanic pathways and can be simulated naturally or artificially. The abiotic/geologic storage is achieved through sequestering CO2 in depleting/depleted hydrocarbon reserves, in deep saline aquifers or through mineral carbonation. At the district level, 64 out of 641 districts (2013 government reports) accounted for ~ 60% of the total CO2 emissions. Controlling CO2 emissions comes with the challenge of sustainable socioeconomic growth of the country-a demanding task for the economy. Indian organizations have made international collaborations. India holds a substantial geological sequestration potential in its basaltic rocks, coal seams, depleted oil reserves, soils, deep saline aquifers and sedimentary basins. At this point, no carbon capture and storage / clean development mechanism projects are operational in the country. The next 10-15 years would be very crucial for India to attain technological advancement to deploy large-scale CCS projects. Words: 173
... The average EVI of cropland vegetation reported that the vegetation damage caused by this drought was mainly due to the shortage of irrigation water resources (Kelley et al., 2015;Châtel, 2014). Previous studies (Eklund and Thompson, 2017;Gleick, 2014) have demonstrated that Syrian farmers depended heavily on dam reservoirs and the extraction of groundwater. However, as early as the end of the 20th century, Syria's groundwater resources were already severely inadequate and its land degraded. ...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change and human activities have significant impacts on terrestrial vegetation. Syria is a typical arid region with a water-limited ecosystem and has experienced severe social unrest over the last decades. In this study, changes in vegetation and potential drivers in Syria are investigated. By using an enhanced vegetation index (EVI), a general browning trend is found in Syria during 2001–2018, with the EVI decreasing at a rate of −0.8 × 10−3 yr−1 (p<0.1). The decrease of the EVI is mainly found in the north region, whereas the west region still maintains an increasing trend. The residual analysis indicates that besides precipitation, human activities also contribute significantly to the EVI decrease, which is confirmed by the decrease in rainfall use efficiency. Moreover, a paired land-use experiment (PLUE) analysis is carried out in the Khabur River basin where croplands are widely distributed in adjacent regions of Syria and Turkey. The time series of the EVIs over these two regions are highly correlated (r=0.8027, p<0.001), indicating that both regions are affected by similar climate forcing. However, vegetation in Syria and Turkey illustrates contrary browning (−3 × 10−3 yr−1, p<0.01) and greening trends (4.5 × 10−3 yr−1, p<0.01), respectively. Relevant reports have noted that social unrest induced insufficient irrigation and lack of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and field management. Therefore, we concluded that the decline in vegetation in the north Syria is driven by the change of land management.
... In the last a few decades, climate change is increasingly been framed as a ‗security' problem (Barnett & Adger, 2007). The ongoing Syrian conflict is a case in point (Gleick, 2014). From 2006 onwards, -Syria has experienced a multi season, multiyear period of extreme drought that contributed to agricultural failures, economic dislocations, and population displacement‖ (Worth, 2010). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter seeks to illustrate china‟s maritime objective considering its geo-strategic sensitivity in the Indian Ocean and its considerable impact on the Rohingya refugee crisis in terms of overall security perspective. Following the recent outflow of Rohingya refugees, the international community has yet to decide on an effective response in which two key regional powers, China and India have extended support to Myanmar. Driven by its realpolitik vision to create stronger diplomatic ties with Myanmar regime, China blocked attempts to meaningfully address the crisis in UN Security Council. China is maintaining its position to back Myanmar by ignoring the human rights issue. This could provide a serious drawback for the security of the entire region specifically for China to protect its huge investment in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.
... Climate variability is popularly reported to be a significant cause of the Syrian conflict that began in 2011. Long-term drought and vulnerability of the population to drought led to large-scale internal migration that contributed to the 2011 popular unrest, which spiraled into Syria's civil war (Gleick 2014;Kelley et al. 2015;Werrell et al. 2015). ...
... Increasing temperatures have made the Earth vulnerable to several issues such as the sea-level rise and associated issues of coastal erosion, flooding, saline water intrusion and infrastructural damages (Nazarnia et al. 2020). Extreme weather conditions such as increased frequency of cyclones (Knutson et al. 2010), flood, drought (Prospero et al. 2003;Gleick 2014) and forest fire (Flannigan et al. 2006) have also been noted in recent years. 8 could stand at around 5.6 BT in the business-as-usual scenario when as per India's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), non-fossil fuels would contribute to 40% of its total electricity installed capacity (Section 3.3). ...
Article
Full-text available
Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a three-tier process-carbon capture, transport and storage. The capture consists of pre-combustion, oxy-combustion and post-combustion capture. Transport of CO2 is most viable through pipelines. The biotic CO2storage occurs through terrestrial or oceanic pathways and can be simulated naturally or artificially. The abiotic/geologic storage is achieved through sequestering CO2 in depleting/depleted hydrocarbon reserves, in deep saline aquifers or through mineral carbonation. At the district level, 64 out of 641 districts (2013 government reports) accounted for ~ 60% of the total CO2 emissions. Controlling CO2 emissions comes with the challenge of sustainable socioeconomic growth of the country-a demanding task for the economy. Indian organizations have made international collaborations. India holds a substantial geological sequestration potential in its basaltic rocks, coal seams, depleted oil reserves, soils, deep saline aquifers and sedimentary basins. At this point, no carbon capture and storage / clean development mechanism projects are operational in the country. The next 10-15 years would be very crucial for India to attain technological advancement to deploy large-scale CCS projects.
... One concerns the ongoing civil war in Syria. This conflict began with an (at the time) unprecedented drought in the region (Gleick, 2014). Essentially (and this is a slight oversimplification of the mechanisms at play), this drought caused a large portion of the rural population to relocate into more urban cities in search of jobs, water, and food. ...
Book
Much of the current rhetoric surrounding climate change focuses on the physical changes to the environment and the resulting material damage to infrastructure and resources. Although there has been some dialogue about secondary effects (namely mass migration), little effort has been given to understanding how rapid climate change is affecting people on group and individual levels. In this Element, we examine the psychological impacts of climate change, especially focused on how it will lead to increases in aggressive behaviors and violent conflict, and how it will influence other aspects of human behavior. We also look at previously established psychological effects and use them to help explain changes in human behavior resulting from rapid climate change, as well as to propose actions that can be taken to reduce climate change itself and mitigate harmful effects on humans.
... Some articles have also discussed the effects of drought or climate change in general (Bowman 2018;Dumenu 2016;Gleick 2014;Goyol 2018;Hlahla 2018;Iqbal 2018;Jedd 2018;Malley 2009;Mera 2018;Mogotsi 2013;Mupedziswa 2017;Murti 2016;Peters 2015;Quandt 2017;Sherval 2012;Sherwood 2013;Singh 2013;Sumadio 2017;Tunde 2018;Wheaton 2008;Xenarios 2017). As previously mentioned, some articles have shown the effects of drought and climate change on several issues. ...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is likely to increase the risk of drought which impacts on health are not quite known well due to its creeping nature. This study maps the publications on the consequences of drought on human health, directly or indirectly, from January 2008 to December 2018. We searched Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, google scholar and Pubmed. 378 articles were included. Poisson regression analysis was performed to evaluate the relationship between the number of articles and some variables such as the continent of the study, article type, subject, and climate event type (climate change or just drought). Data were analyzed using Microsoft Excel 2019 and SPSS version 26. Based on the results, Asia had the highest number of publications (91) compared to North America (82), while the number of articles from South America (16) was lower significantly. The majority of articles had used quantitative analysis (175), and review articles were the second most frequent (104). Most of the articles had focused on the social impacts of drought. The number of articles has increased over the years and most of them were not in the health area primarily. Also, a noticeable amount of the knowledge comes from analysis of previously collected data and review articles. To mitigate and reduce the impacts of drought on the different dimensions of health, we need to understand them through more investigations with precise data and methods, especially in less developed countries with a more vulnerable population, and mental health consequences of drought that have been less considered.
... Studies relating to climate change and conflicts, emphasize the fact that climatic variations alone do not directly trigger tensions, but instead climate-related effects mix with the geopolitical, socio-economic and other contextual factors to create more instability. In fact, the share of responsibility of poor IQ, corrupt and frail government bodies have received much attention as being one of the foremost reasons why conflicts relating to climate erupt in some countries and not others [see Akther & Alam, (2020) ;Gleick, (2014) and Saghir, (2019)]. For instance, like all MENA countries, Saudi Arabia experiences tremendous pressures in terms of water scarcity, yet today the Kingdom has become a vanguard in desalination technologies which has replaced the latter's groundwater as the main source of drinking water (DeNicola et al., 2015), which unarguably is attributed to its wealth and sustained economic, social and government stability. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to undertake a narrative review on climate change, institutional quality, and SDGs within the context of Yemen. The methodology is a broad study of past and recent academic works related to the topic's keywords. In essence, a narrative review has been undertaken to incorporate the three interlacing issues; climate change, institutional quality, and SDG in the context of Yemen. The present research work reinforces the evidence that climate change effects are particularly more catastrophic in regions already under political, socioeconomic , and cultural pressures. Eventually, the attainment of SDGs become increasingly challenging in contexts with intense climate variability and native disturbances. Besides, the lack of quality institutions and strong governance put in peril the stability of the country, thereby making it more prone to conflicts. This eventually leads to the formation of a vicious circle where low institutional quality fecund more conflicts, which in turn further destabilizes state institutions. Overall, climate change is making matters worse for countries like Yemen, and hence this study provides an insight into the Yemenite society and economy. Since this is a narrative review with an interpretive approach, further studies should aim to engage in more econometric analysis covering the interference relationships between climate change, institutional quality, and SDGs, especially in countries facing the turmoils of war and conflict.
... Drought driven mass migration has occurred throughout human history, as recently observed in Central America (WFP 2017). Sociopolitical tensions amplified by drought stress can lead to unrest and regional violence as in the Syrian civil war and the broader Middle East North Africa region (Gleick 2014, Abel et al 2019, Bellizzi et al 2020. ...
Article
Full-text available
Extreme drought occurs on every continent, negatively impacting natural systems and the built environment. Realized and anticipated future warming affects global hydrology, influencing the severity and frequency of both extreme precipitation events and precipitation deficits. Understanding future drought conditions is essential for risk aware water management strategies and to protect food security for a growing human population, while safeguarding natural capital critical to limiting further warming. Here we quantify socioeconomic and ecological exposure to extreme drought. We focus on global, regional, and national scales at increasing levels of climate warming, from today’s 1.0 °C world to 4.0 °C of warming. Drought is quantified using the self-calibrated Palmer drought severity index calculated from globally mosaiced regional climate simulation (REMO2015). Exposure to extreme drought increases monotonically with warming level. For every 0.5 °C warming increase up to 3.0 °C, an additional 619 million people live in areas with 25% likelihood of annual extreme drought, in addition to the 1.7 billion people (25% of 2020 global population) exposed in today’s 1.0 °C world. Spatially, global drying is amplified in the tropics, where drought frequency increases at twice the global rate. Per 0.5 °C increase in warming, extreme drought annual likelihoods increase 1.5 times greater in forested than non-forested areas, jeopardizing climate regulation associated with forested biomes. Cropland exposure to 50% likelihood of annual extreme drought in two of the highest producing countries, China and Brazil, increases 4× and 13× between 1.0 °C and 2.0 °C, spanning a third of national cropland by 3.0 °C. At 1.5 °C (4.0 °C), 16% (39%) of global hydroelectric generating capacity will be exposed to at least a 50% likelihood of annual extreme drought, up from 5% in today’s 1.0 °C world. Given the near-term likelihood of surpassing 1.5 °C, high resolution drought exposure assessments must inform risk aware development and resilience efforts.
... Ding et al. 2021;IPCC (2021) In press). This is particularly the case in Southwest Asia where slow development during the past decades, in part due to sociopolitical tensions and wars over some territories, has made the region more vulnerable to climate change (Gleick 2014;Mason 2019). Most of Southwest Asia has an arid or semi-arid climate (Alizadeh-Choobari and Najafi 2018) due to the dominance of the regional-scale subsidence, implying that the adaptive capacity to climate change is low in this region (Pal and Eltahir 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying seasonally varying temperature and precipitation changes is important, particularly in relatively dry regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. The ERA5 dataset is used to examine long-term (1979-2020) near-surface temperature and precipitation changes and to understand the driving mechanisms for precipitation changes over Southwest Asia in different seasons. Precipitation and its changes are also analyzed based on the CRU dataset. Significant warming trends with strong seasonal and regional differences are identified over Southwest Asia, with the highest warming trend in spring, followed in decreasing order by winter, summer and autumn. Mountain temperatures have also increased much faster than other regions in Southwest Asia, particularly in winter and spring. Based on both ERA5 and CRU, precipitation has significantly decreased over parts of southwestern and eastern Iran and southwestern Pakistan in winter, but has significantly increased over the Caucasus in spring. Precipitation has not changed significantly over Southwest Asia in summer, while it has significantly increased over parts of Saudi Arabia in autumn. As the CRU dataset only covers land areas, analysis based on ERA5 indicates that precipitation has significantly decreased and increased over the Oman Sea in winter and the Persian Gulf in autumn, respectively. Wind speeds between 400 and 100 hPa levels and mean sea level pressure (MSLP) are also analyzed during the period 1979-2020. The subtropical jet has risen significantly over eastern parts of Southwest Asia (55-65ºE) in autumn. In winter, the jet has shifted poleward, which resulted in robust decreasing precipitation trends over most parts of Iran and southwestern Pakistan. Over northwestern Iran, however, precipitation has increased in winter in response to a significantly decreased MSLP. In autumn, an equatorward shift of the jet has been accompanied by a significantly decreased MSLP and increased precipitation in lower latitudes (20-37ºN) of Southwest Asia.
... tonnes, and productivityabout 1.034 tonnes / ha, which are calculated from a statistical analysis of Tables 6a, 6b and 6c. Statistical analysis shows that the equations (7,8,9) in the Table 5 related to the area, production and productivity respectively, are very significant (p <0.01). The effects of the independent variable (Dt) on the area, production and productivity was about 65%, 62%, and 47%, respectively, while the rest was due to other factors which are not included in our model. ...
... Globally, several studies have revealed that severe and prolonged droughts have triggered political conflicts and social instability (Selby and Hoffmann 2014;Kelley et al. 2015). A series of seasonal droughts have resulted in numerous conflicting events over drought-affected regions of Ethiopia, Somalia and Syria (Gleick 2014;Maystadt and Ecker 2014;Delbiso et al. 2017). Recent political conflicts in different regions of Sudan may be ascribed to climate change induced droughts to some extent (Selby and Hoffmann 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Drought vulnerability is the extent to which an area is susceptible to damage as well as causing a threat to human society. Drought frequently occurs in the Indian state of Rajasthan, and so far, very little attention has been paid towards its vulnerability assessment. Therefore, the present study focuses on a spatial multi-criteria integrated technique for an all-out drought vulnerability assessment and mapping consisting of geographic information systems (GIS) and analytic hierarchy process (AHP) techniques. The data have been acquired from various secondary sources pertaining to a total of 16 indicators under meteorological (rainfall, temperature and evapotranspiration), hydrological (hydrogeology, elevation, groundwater level, groundwater development and surface water bodies), agricultural (available water holding capacity of soils, land use and slope) and socio-economic (density of population, female-to-male ratio, irrigated land, agriculture-dependent population and deep tube wells) drought categories. Further, spatial layers for each category have been developed by various GIS operations followed by the calculation of weights for each drought category and type employing pair-wise comparison matrices by means of AHP criterion. Afterwards, individual drought category and comprehensive drought vulnerability maps have been prepared by employing the weighted overlay technique. The generated maps have effectively displayed the areal spreads and levels of drought vulnerability with respect to normal, mild, moderate, severe and extreme category of droughts. The findings from this study have demonstrated a proneness of severe to extreme drought vulnerability in 25% area of the state. Distinctively, the eastern, western, central and small pockets of south-western parts of the state have witnessed severe to extreme drought vulnerability, while the remaining areas have demonstrated normal to moderate drought vulnerability. The results of the overall drought vulnerability have been validated by employing normalized difference vegetation index and past occurrence of drought disasters, which revealed an accuracy of 81%. The obtained results prove the effectiveness of geoinformatics and AHP techniques in comprehensive drought vulnerability assessment and mapping. Finally, the findings of the present study may be easily applied for designing suitable drought mitigation strategies of the vulnerable areas.
... Climate change can challenge human security by (a) undermining livelihood, culture and human rights, (b) increasing migration, and (c) indirectly influencing armed conflict (Koubi et al., 2020). Climate-driven limitations in water and other resources (e.g., due to prolonged drought events) are found to directly or indirectly trigger or augment disputes and conflicts in the region (Gleick, 2014;Kelley et al., 2015). However, their relative importance, in comparison to other causes, remains controversial. ...
Article
Full-text available
Observation-based and modelling studies have identified the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region as a prominent climate change hotspot. While several initiatives have addressed the impacts of climate change in parts of the EMME, here we present an updated assessment, covering a wide range of timescales, phenomena and future pathways. Our assessment is based on a revised analysis of recent observations and projections and an extensive overview of the recent scientific literature on the causes and effects of regional climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions in the EMME are growing rapidly, surpassing those of the European Union, hence contributing significantly to climate change. Over the past half-century and especially during recent decades, the EMME has warmed significantly faster than other inhabited regions. At the same time, changes in the hydrological cycle have become evident. The observed recent temperature increase of about 0.45°C per decade is projected to continue, although strong global greenhouse gas emission reductions could moderate this trend. In addition to projected changes in mean climate conditions, we call attention to extreme weather events with potentially disruptive societal impacts. These include the strongly increasing severity and duration of heatwaves, droughts and dust storms, as well as torrential rain events that can trigger flash floods. Our review is complemented by a discussion of atmospheric pollution and land-use change in the region, including urbanization, desertification and forest fires. Finally, we identify sectors that may be critically affected and formulate adaptation and research recommendations towards greater resilience of the EMME to climate change.
... Especially, decreasing in rainfall will result in reduced runoff (Vaze and Teng, 2011). Already some countries have experienced reduction in rainfall and changes in hydrology due to climate change (Chiew et al., 2009;Petrone et al., 2010;OECD., 2013;Gleick, 2014;IPCC, 2014b;Kusangaya et al., 2014). Australia is the second driest continent after Antarctica, and its rainfall can highly vary from one year to another. ...
Article
Full-text available
The enhanced warming trend and precipitation decline in the Mediterranean region make it a climate change hotspot. We compare projections of multiple Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and Phase 6 (CMIP6) historical and future scenario simulations to quantify the impacts of the already changing climate in the region. In particular, we investigate changes in temperature and precipitation during the 21st century following scenarios RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 for CMIP5 and SSP1-2.6, SSP2-4.5 and SSP5-8.5 from CMIP6, as well as for the HighResMIP high-resolution experiments. A model weighting scheme is applied to obtain constrained estimates of projected changes, which accounts for historical model performance and inter-independence in the multi-model ensembles, using an observational ensemble as reference. Results indicate a robust and significant warming over the Mediterranean region during the 21st century over all seasons, ensembles and experiments. The temperature changes vary between CMIPs, CMIP6 being the ensemble that projects a stronger warming. The Mediterranean amplified warming with respect to the global mean is mainly found during summer. The projected Mediterranean warming during the summer season can span from 1.83 to 8.49 ∘C in CMIP6 and 1.22 to 6.63 ∘C in CMIP5 considering three different scenarios and the 50 % of inter-model spread by the end of the century. Contrarily to temperature projections, precipitation changes show greater uncertainties and spatial heterogeneity. However, a robust and significant precipitation decline is projected over large parts of the region during summer by the end of the century and for the high emission scenario (−49 % to −16 % in CMIP6 and −47 % to −22 % in CMIP5). While there is less disagreement in projected precipitation than in temperature between CMIP5 and CMIP6, the latter shows larger precipitation declines in some regions. Results obtained from the model weighting scheme indicate larger warming trends in CMIP5 and a weaker warming trend in CMIP6, thereby reducing the difference between the multi-model ensemble means from 1.32 ∘C before weighting to 0.68 ∘C after weighting.
Thesis
Full-text available
Environmental movements have evolved and expanded across recent years in response to escalating ecological crisis. Developments include an increasingly prominent role for young people, more concerted efforts to integrate environmental and social struggles, and renewed critiques of global capitalism and its growth imperative. Underexplored throughout extensive scholarship in this field is how young environmental activists are (re)imagining socio-ecological crisis and transformation. This thesis aims to develop a deeper understanding of how young environmental activists envisage crisis and the types of futures they seek. The project draws on 30 semi-structured interviews and participant observation with young environmental activists (aged 16-28) in North East England. I develop an open case study approach in which data collected through local, low-impact empirical research is analysed through a theoretical lens centred around the burgeoning transnational academic-activist discourse of degrowth. The project evolved from a (pre)embedded position within this local activist milieu. In contrast with earlier environmentalist discourse, the narrative analysis in this thesis reveals how young activists pursue ecologically sustainable and socially just futures as an integrated ambition. Such approaches reflect the ascendant influence of climate justice frames which foreground the intersections of climate breakdown with existing social-geographical inequalities and oppressions. Bound up with these framings, however, are risks: I caution against the neglect of dimensions of ecological crisis beyond climate, as well as the underappreciation of complex interdependencies between human and non-human wellbeing. I also uncover a predominant oppositional orientation characterising both the forms of action young activists engage in and how they envisage transformation(s). Tensions between antagonistic and imaginative politics are manifest in the way that many activists appear to defer the development of alternative socio-ecological imaginaries until an abstract future moment. For some this deferral is unconscious whilst, for others, it is expressed as a deliberative prioritisation of an oppositional politics in the present. I argue, however, that this
Article
Environmental security concepts are shaping the contours of global environmental governance. Although many scholars have analyzed the emergence of environmental security agendas within state agencies and intergovernmental organizations, greater understanding of how environmental security debates traverse transnational, non-state politics is needed to provide a fuller view of environmental security as a globally contested concept. Therefore, this paper examines how transnational corporations (TNCs) leverage and generate ideas about environmental security on a cross-border scale. Specifically, I explore the ways three TNCs —BP, Nutrien, and Veolia—turn to environmental security as a source of legitimacy in their broader global environmental governance agendas. I find that these TNCs rely on particular notions of environmental security to validate their roles in filling governance gaps, promoting democratic principles, and mitigating planetary crisis, particularly to appease a primarily Western, elite audience. Ultimately, I reveal how environmental security concepts inform non-state legitimacy claims and advocate for a political economic perspective for understanding the wider implications of environmental security as a power-laden concept.
Article
Full-text available
As a result of climate change, it is clear to provide instability for conflict zones in the coming years. Moreover, climate change has potential socio-economic consequences in addition to environmental impacts. For example, decreasing water resources and rural land usage forces people to migrate from rural to urban areas due to low productivity in agriculture and animal husbandry, rising food prices, and decreasing wealth levels. In this study, we evaluate climate change impacts on northeast Syria, a wetter climate zone in the country. Within the scope of the study, in addition to addressing the effects of climate change on the scale of drought, we determined to what extent land-use changes and agricultural patterns throughout the region affect water use (mainly groundwater). Revealing the possible relations between the previous regional conflicts and the changes in land use, drought, and water use will be beneficial in terms of evaluating the possible threats in the future. Obviously, the changes in land use, the increase in irrigated agricultural areas, and the intensive groundwater use make the situation worse. Drought has exacerbated these problems. It is undeniable that the effects of climate change are one of the most pressing political and economic challenges in the region. Therefore, it is worthwhile to evaluate the potential future threat of the spread of conflicts that were experienced before. It is undeniable that climate change effects seem to be one of the region's most pressing political and economic challenges. Therefore, the entire Syria and the northeast region require more attention to adapt climate change effects on water resources to peace and security.
Article
Full-text available
The role of water resources in conflict has been the centre of a polarized scientific debate on the connections between environmental and social sustainability. We investigate whether and how water availability, also in relation to water demand, increases the likelihood of violent conflict, and we analyse how hydrological factors influence social conflict dynamics involving non-state armed groups in the Lake Chad Basin. We combine hydrological and biophysical factors with information on socio-political processes. We use a novel physically based agro-hydrological model to produce water-availability and water-demand indicators to explore the conflict potential. By coupling a critical modelling perspective with a novel rendition of hydrological dynamics and statistical tools, we explore water–conflict interconnections in a broader hydrosocial framework. Our results show that, although water scarcity alone does not directly drive violent conflict, complex water-related interdependencies exist on multiple space–time scales. Analytical integration of fine-scale hydrological indicators may help deconstruct both mechanistic and relativist narratives, improve understanding of socio-hydrological complexity and move towards a comprehensive vision of socially and environmentally sustainable use of water and land.
Article
Full-text available
Cellulose in particular and phytomass in general are at the heart of our food system. They are also a central energy vector and a vital source of materials. In this article, a multiscale approach to the complex issue of lignocellulose sustainability is developed. Global thermodynamic concepts help to place current biomass exploitation in a global energetic context. In particular, the notion of entropy appears pivotal to understand energy and material fluxes at the scale of the planet and the limits of biomass production. Entropy is, however, best described at the microscopic scale, despite its large-scale consequences. Recent advances in entropy-driven colloid assembly parallel nature's choices and lignocellulose assembly at the nanometric scale. The functional concept of exergy is then developed and a few examples of its concrete use in photosynthesis and biorefinery research are given. In a subsequent part, an evaluation of the relative importance of biomass is performed with respect to non-renewable materials. This discussion helps to explain the interdependence of resources, including ores and fossil fuels. This interdependence has important consequences for current and future biomass uses. Some of these dependences are then quantitatively discussed using life cycle analysis (LCA) results from the literature. These results are of importance to different technological fields such as paper, biobased insulation, construction wood, information and communication technologies, and biobased textiles. A conclusion is then drawn that exposes the research tracks that are the most likely to be sustainable, including self-assembly, exergetically favourable options and low tech solutions.
Chapter
By 2050, between 25 million and 1 billion people globally could be displaced by extreme weather events, landscape degradation, and the environmental impacts of climate change. Environmentally displaced persons (EDPs) are people who are compelled to leave their homes in either the short- or the long-term because of an environmental hazard that affects their livelihoods, health, or physical safety. Latin America is a particularly important – and relatively understudied – region in which to explore migration driven by climate change, environmental degradation, inequalities, and conflict. This chapter advocates for a regional approach to future pathways of environmental migration in Latin America. Key to this approach is to first begin to sustainably manage natural resources and aggressively practice climate change mitigation activities within the region. These close ties could make migration slightly easier within the region than outside it and could drive more cross-border migration than in other regions. Long-term risk planning efforts must improve international and regional cooperation, capacity-building, and adaptive management of refugee resettlement programs, in order to address the reality of future environmental migration in an orderly manner. Migration should be considered as a valid adaptation approach in the face of rapid-onset events and for lowering exposure to slow-onset events and should be included in climate change adaptation action plans. Adaptive and forward-looking planning for environmental displacement is a way to avoid the anxiety, scrambling for funding sources, and sudden state of emergency in countries often associated with new refugee flows.
Article
Full-text available
What broke out as the Arab Spring in Tunisia in 2010 stroke Egypt and shed its light on the Middle East, including Syria. During the first few days of demonstrations in Syria, the spring turned into a bloody fall and a full-scale civil war. Political-security crises and economic and social problems that had dominated the country during Assad's family rule left the state in deep defeat. Meanwhile, the arena of war turned into the scene of conflict between different political forces and their regional and international supporters, caused Syria to encounter immense foreign intervention. In this regard, this article attempts to figure out the answer to this question, "What are the causes for the Syrian state of failing during 2010-19?" The authors hypothesize that "the state in Syria has failed since the beginning of the protests due to persistent social, economic and political-security crises that led to the militarization of the country by the opposition and insurgent groups." The findings also indicate that the Syrian state faced historical crises after 2010 in economic imbalance and decline, demographic and environmental pressures, political-administrative corruption, and weak public services, which deepened after 2011, and it spread to other areas such as ethnic-religious violence.
Article
Full-text available
Gaining a holistic understanding of extreme weather, from its physical drivers to its impacts on society and ecosystems, is key to supporting future risk reduction and preparedness measures. Here, we provide an overview of the state of the art, knowledge gaps and key open questions in the study of extreme weather events over the vulnerable eastern Mediterranean. This region is situated in a transition zone between subtropical and mid-latitude climates. The large-scale atmospheric circulation and its interaction with regional synoptic systems (i.e., Cyprus Lows, Red Sea Troughs, Persian Troughs, “Sharav” Lows) and high-pressure systems mainly govern extreme weather. Complex orographic features further play an important role in the generation of extreme weather. Most extreme weather events, including heavy precipitation, cold spells, floods and windstorms, are associated with Cyprus Lows or active Red Sea Troughs, whereas heat waves are related with either Persian Troughs and sub-tropical high-pressure systems in summer or the Sharav Low during springtime. In future decades, heat waves and droughts are projected to significantly increase in both frequency and intensity. Changes in heavy precipitation may vary in sign and magnitude depending on the scale, severity and region of interest. There are still relatively large uncertainties concerning the physical understanding and the projected changes of cold spells, windstorms and compound extremes, as these types of events received comparatively little attention in the literature. We further identify knowledge gaps that relate to the societal impacts of extreme weather. These gaps mainly relate to the effects extreme weather may have on mortality, morbidity and infrastructure in the eastern Mediterranean. Research is currently limited in this context, and we recommend strengthening the database of analyzed case studies. We trust that this can only be suitably accomplished by inter-disciplinary and international regional collaboration (in spite of political unrest).
Article
Full-text available
Water supply is considered as water democracy. Sustainable water resources management has been manifested in response to growing pressures from population growth, socio-economic development, climate change, and ecological degradation. Despite the long history of water structure engineering in Iran, there is always a lack of sustainable water resources management framework, and recreation of hidden values of historic hydraulic structures. The purpose of this study was to compare the characteristics of the historic hydraulic structures of desert cities with water resources’sustainable management criteria and the importance of restoration, protection and recreation of this historical heritage. This is an inferential-comparative study. Information gathering tools were library studies, review of written literature, and documents. Study of the structure, performance and management system of the historical hydraulic structures of Yazd Desert City indicated that despite the weaknesses of traditional systems, these structures have been in great harmony with the sustainable management framework for water resources. Therefore, modeling and recreating the values and systems governing the structure and functioning of these structures as the most fundamental factors in explaining the thought and practice of social and ecological life can provide the basis for sustainability in all its dimensions.
Article
This paper suggests that the dominance of one debate on climate related conflict – establishing whether climate change leads to conflict, or not ‐ is the product of Imperial knowledge produced in the Global North Orientalising the Global South. This debate is also one in which the subdiscipline of political geography has been inadvertently complicit by accepting positivist approaches, that erase the subject and their subjectivities from this discussion, and frame them as science. The argument in this paper problematises the fundamental understanding of ‘climate conflict’, as defined and universalised by Western science in the Western academy. Instead, it argues that the subaltern's lived experience and interpretation of hazards and their relationship with conflicts needs to be located and centred in this conversation – not just as that of a hapless victim but as knowledge producers able to set the agendas and re‐orient the focus of this field. Research examining conflicts around floods and evictions begins to map a new future for how that might be possible.
Article
There is a vivid scientific debate on how climate change affects stability, resilience, and conflict dynamics of human societies. Environmental security and collapse theory are theoretical approaches that claim severe negative impacts of climatic disasters on political stability, allegedly through the vector of food insecurity. Yet there is a disconnect between this work and the rich body of knowledge on food insecurity and society. The literature is fairly unanimous that (a) drought does not necessarily lead to famines, since (b) famines have a political context that is often more important than other factors; in addition, (c) famines and the distribution of suffering reflect social hierarchies within afflicted societies, and (d) even large-scale famines do not necessarily cause collapse of a polity’s functioning, as (e) food systems are highly interconnected and complex. As an illustrative case, the paper offers a longitudinal study of Malawi. By combining environmental history and analysis of Malawi’s idiosyncratic (post-)colonial politics, it discusses the possible connections between droughts, food insecurity, and political crises in the African country. The single-case study represents a puzzle for adherents of the “collapse” theory but highlights the complex political ecology of food crises in vulnerable societies. This has implications for a formulation of climate justice claims beyond catastrophism.
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper explores deeper dimensions of fluorosis and seeks to develop a clear communitydriven policy framework around fluorosis. It aims at redistributive policies that will lead to resource benefits to the local residents. The work will provide the foundation necessary to lobby for the implementation of policies that favor rainwater harvesting at household level. Exploitation of water for energy production needs to be redefined and readdressed properly. Naivasha geothermal exploration and fluorosis is used as the case study. Mount Longonot’s previous volcanic events were a blessing and a curse to the geographical area in that, it is the reason for geothermal potential and is also the generator of observed high fluoride aquifers of the area. Geothermal energy production has always required water in the form of steam to produce energy and therefore, legislation should be able to induce good quality and affordable consumption water as well as wastewater treatment in Naivasha.
Article
This experimental study demonstrates a thermodynamic cycle based on isothermal regeneration to enhance the exploitation of sorbents and low temperature energy sources, such as solar energy, for atmospheric water harvesting in dry climates. An experimental setup based on silica gel it has been designed to produced liquid water with low regeneration temperature for dry climates with dew point in the range of 2–8 °C and ambient temperature between 20 and 35 °C. Experimental results demonstrated a daily production of 1.5–3.3 L day⁻¹ per square meter of solar field, with a maximum regeneration temperature of 57 °C, ambient temperature up to 35 °C. The thermal energy required to activate the cycle was between 1 and 3 kWh per liter of condensed water.
Article
Techniques for the magnetic treatment of water have become one of the most common practices for improving the agricultural sector. The effects of alternating magnetic field treatment of broad bean (Luz de Otoño) seeds and irrigation water on plant growth and yield were investigated under pot conditions. The magnetic treatments included (i) magnetically treated seeds (MTS), (ii) magnetically treated irrigation water (MTIW), and (iii) no magnetic treatment of both seeds and irrigation water, which were considered controls. Dry broad bean seeds were exposed to a magnetic field induced by an electromagnet at 165 mT for 2 and 4 min. Water for irrigation was exposed to a 165 mT magnetic field. The results showed that MTS for 2 min and MTIW led to significant increases in plant growth and yield of broad bean plants in comparison with the control plants, while MTS for 4 min and MTIW affected the most seedling attributes of the plants. It was found that the pods of MTS for 2 min and MTIW emerged 6 days earlier than those of the control plants, while the pods of MTS for 4 min and MTIW emerged 5 days after those of the control plants. The most affected parameter was the number of seeds, which increased by 21% for MTS for 2 min and MTIW compared with the control. These results suggest that MTS enhance the growth and yield of broad bean plants under pot conditions.
Article
A partir de datos etnográficos de los proyectos SyrianFoodFutures (2019) y From the FIELD (2020), se proporciona evidencia sobre los primeros efectos de la pandemia de COVID‐19 en el trabajo agrícola de refugiadas y refugiados en Iraq, Jordania, el Líbano, Siria y Turquía. En la primavera de 2020, las restricciones de movimientos y las interrupciones de la cadena de suministro hicieron que las y los trabajadores agrícolas sirios desplazados perdieran sus empleos y se enfrentaran a una mayor inseguridad alimentaria. Los autores destacan el uso de la ambigüedad legal por parte de los países de acogida hacia la población refugiada, la dependencia de la agricultura de Oriente Medio de la mano de obra migrante y la prolongada inseguridad alimentaria de la región. Llegan a la conclusión de que la formalización del trabajo de la población refugiada no es suficiente para hacer frente a la explotación.
Article
Les auteurs utilisent des données ethnographiques issues de deux enquêtes auprès de réfugiés syriens employés dans l'agriculture au Moyen‐Orient (SyrianFoodFutures et From the FIELD) pour décrire les premiers effets de la pandémie sur cette population particulière. Ils montrent que les restrictions de déplacement et la perturbation des chaînes d'approvisionnement ont compromis l'activité et la sécurité alimentaire de ces migrants, en rappelant certaines données du contexte régional: l'ambiguïté juridique entourant le statut de réfugié, la dépendance de l'agriculture à la main‐d'œuvre immigrée et une insécurité alimentaire endémique. Ils concluent qu'il ne suffira pas de régulariser la situation des réfugiés au travail pour empêcher leur exploitation.
Article
We present evidence that international trade may exacerbate the initial unequal distribution of hydric resources. This result is driven by the fact that countries exporting agricultural goods are relatively abundant (with respect to capital) in the combined availability of water and arable land but, in absolute terms, scarce in capital and not richer in water in comparison to more developed ones. Due to both the scarcity of capital and the lower relative price of natural resources with respect to capital, the total value of production in these developing countries is modest, implying that international trade can lead to a less even distribution of the water content of consumption. Policies sustaining water prices and, more generally, those of natural resources (or lower capital costs) may contribute to offsetting this effect and allow for trade to play a positive role in reducing the uneven distribution of water endowments.
Article
Full-text available
There is broad consensus among scientists that climate change is altering weather patterns around the world. However, economists are only beginning to develop comprehensive tools that allow for the quantification of such weather changes on countries’ economies and people. This paper presents a modeling suite that links the downscaling of global climate models, crop modeling, global economic modeling, and sub-national-level dynamic computable equilibrium modeling. Important to note is that this approach allows for decomposing the potential global and local economic effects on countries, including various economic sectors and different household groups. We apply this modeling suite to Syria, a relevant case study given the country’s location in a region that is consistently projected to be among those hit hardest by climate change. We find that, despite a certain degree of endogenous adaptation, local impacts of climate change (through declining yields) are likely to affect Syria beyond the agricultural sector and farmers and also reduce economy-wide growth and incomes of urban households in the long term. The overall effects of global climate change (through higher food prices) are also negative, but some farmers may reap the benefit of higher prices. Combining local and global climate change scenarios shows welfare losses across all rural and urban household groups, whereas the poorest household groups are the hardest hit.
Article
Full-text available
Water used by irrigated crops is obtained from three sources: local precipitation contributing to soil moisture available for root water uptake (i.e., green water), irrigation water taken from rivers, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and renewable groundwater (i.e., blue water), and irrigation water abstracted from nonrenewable groundwater and nonlocal water resources. Here we quantify globally the amount of nonrenewable or nonsustainable groundwater abstraction to sustain current irrigation practice. We use the global hydrological model PCR-GLOBWB to simulate gross crop water demand for irrigated crops and available blue and green water to meet this demand. We downscale country statistics of groundwater abstraction by considering the part of net total water demand that cannot be met by surface freshwater. We subsequently confront these with simulated groundwater recharge, including return flow from irrigation to estimate nonrenewable groundwater abstraction. Results show that nonrenewable groundwater abstraction contributes approximately 20% to the global gross irrigation water demand for the year 2000. The contribution of nonrenewable groundwater abstraction to irrigation is largest in India (68 km 3 yr -1) followed by Pakistan (35 km 3 yr -1), the United States (30 km 3 yr -1), Iran (20 km 3 yr -1), China (20 km 3 yr -1), Mexico (10 km 3 yr -1), and Saudi Arabia (10 km 3 yr -1). Results also show that globally, this contribution more than tripled from 75 to 234 km 3 yr -1 over the period 1960-2000.
Article
Full-text available
Satellite retrievals of surface evaporation and precipitation from the Hamburg Ocean Atmosphere Parameters and Fluxes from Satellite Data (HOAPS-3) dataset are used to document the distribution of evaporation, precipitation, and freshwater flux over the Mediterranean and Black Seas. An analysis is provided of the major scales of temporal and spatial variability of the freshwater budget and the atmospheric processes responsible for the water flux changes. The satellite evaporation fluxes are compared with fields from three different reanalysis datasets [40-yr ECMWF Re-Analysis (ERA-40), ERA-Interim, and NCEP]. The results show a water deficit in the Mediterranean region that averages to about 2.4 mm day−1 but with a significant east–west asymmetry ranging from 3.5 mm day−1 in the eastern part to about 1.1 mm day−1 in the western part of the basin. The zonal asymmetry in the water deficit is driven by evaporation differences that are in turn determined by variability in the air–sea humidity difference in the different parts of the Mediterranean basin. The Black Sea freshwater deficit is 0.5 mm day−1, with maxima off the northern coast (0.9 mm day−1) that are attributed to both evaporation maxima and precipitation minima there. The trend analysis of the freshwater budget shows that the freshwater deficit increases in the 1988–2005 period. The prominent increase in the eastern part of the basin is present in the satellite and all three reanalysis datasets. The water deficit is due to increases in evaporation driven by increasing sea surface temperature, while precipitation does not show any consistent trends in the period. Similarly, in the Black Sea, trends in the freshwater deficit are mainly due to evaporation, although year-to-year variability is due to precipitation patterns.
Article
Full-text available
Global climate change will pose a wide range of challenges to freshwater resources, altering water quantity, quality, system operations, and imposing new governance complications. Among the many unresolved challenges is how to integrate information on future hydroclimatological conditions into the politically complex system of transboundary water agreements, including formal treaties, international agreements, and transnational management institutions. Yet, most treaties and international agreements lack important tools for dealing with current challenges, such as flood control and water quality, and they lack adequate mechanisms for addressing changing social, economic or climate conditions. There are various approaches that can be incorporated into existing treaties to allow for flexibility in the face of climate change, including: (1) adjustable allocation strategies and water-quality standards; (2) response strategies for extreme events; (3) amendment and review procedures; and (4) joint management institutions. We offer some explicit examples where specific strategies have been successfully implemented in ways that both reduce the risks of political conflicts over shared waters and lessen vulnerabilities to climatic changes.Citation Cooley, H. & Gleick, P. H. (2011) Climate-proofing transboundary water agreements. Hydrol. Sci. J.56(4), 711–718.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we seek to identify historical indicators of international freshwater conflict and cooperation and to create a framework to identify and evaluate international river basins at potential risk for future conflict. We derived biophysical, socioeco-nomic, and geopolitical variables at multiple spatial and temporal scales from GIS datasets of international basins and associated countries, and we tested these variables against a database of historical incidents of international water related cooperation and conflict from 1948 to 1999. International relations over freshwater resources were overwhelmingly cooperative and covered a wide range of issues, including water quantity, water quality, joint management, and hydropower. Conflictive relations tended to center on quantity and infrastructure. No single indicator—including climate, water stress, government type, and dependence on water for agriculture or energy—explained conflict/cooperation over water. Even indicators showing a significant correlation with water conflict, such as high population density, low per capita GDP, and overall unfriendly international relations, explained only a small percentage of data variability. The most promising sets of indicators for water conflict were those associated with rapid or extreme physical or institutional change within a basin (e.g., large dams or internationalization of a basin) and the key role of institutional mechanisms, such as freshwater treaties, in mitigating such conflict.
Article
Full-text available
The Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME) are likely to be greatly affected by climate change, associated with increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts and hot weather conditions. Since the region is diverse and extreme climate conditions already common, the impacts will be disproportional. We have analyzed long-term meteorological datasets along with regional climate model projections for the 21st century, based on the intermediate IPCC SRES scenario A1B. This suggests a continual, gradual and relatively strong warming of about 3.5–7°C between the 1961–1990 reference period and the period 2070–2099. Daytime maximum temperatures appear to increase most rapidly in the northern part of the region, i.e. the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey. Hot summer conditions that rarely occurred in the reference period may become the norm by the middle and the end of the 21st century. Projected precipitation changes are quite variable. Annual precipitation is expected to decrease in the southern Europe – Turkey region and the Levant, whereas in the Arabian Gulf area it may increase. In the former region rainfall is actually expected to increase in winter, while decreasing in spring and summer, with a substantial increase of the number of days without rainfall. Anticipated regional impacts of climate change include heat stress, associated with poor air quality in the urban environment, and increasing scarcity of fresh water in the Levant. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0418-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Article
A set of downscaled climate change data from transient experiments with regional climate models has been used to access the future climate change signal in the area of the Figeh spring system in Syria and its potential effects on future water availability. The data ensemble at a spatial resolution of 0.25 degrees has been investigated for the period 1961-90 for present-day climate and the periods 2021-50 and 2070-99 for future climate. The focus is on changes to annual, seasonal, and monthly surface air temperature and precipitation. For the first time, the Figeh spring discharge has been assessed with a hydrological runoff model based on an artificial neural network (ANN) approach. The ANN model was formulated and validated for the years 1987-2007, applying daily meteorological driving data. The investigations show that water supply from the spring might face serious problems under changed climate conditions. An expected, a precipitation decrease of about -11% in winter and -8% in spring, together with increased temperatures of up to +1.6 degrees C and a significant decrease in snow mass, can substantially limit the water recharge potential already in the near future until 2050. In the period 2070-99, the annual precipitation amount is simulated to decrease by -22% and the annual mean temperature to increase by +4 degrees C, relative to the 1961-90 mean. The ensemble mean of the relative change in mean discharge reveals a decrease during the peak flow from March to May, with values up to -20% in 2021-50 and almost -50% in the period 2069-98, both related to the 1961-90 mean.
Article
Climate change is increasingly recognized as having national security implications, which has prompted dialogue between the climate change and national security communities – with resultant advantages and differences. Climate change research has proven useful to the national security community sponsors in several ways. It has opened security discussions to consider climate as well as political factors in studies of the future. It has encouraged factoring in the stresses placed on societies by climate changes (of any kind) to help assess the potential for state stability. And it has shown that, changes such as increased heat, more intense storms, longer periods without rain, and earlier spring onset call for building climate resilience as part of building stability. For the climate change research community, studies from a national security point of view have revealed research lacunae, for example, such as the lack of usable migration studies. This has also pushed the research community to consider second- and third-order impacts of climate change, such as migration and state stability, which broadens discussion of future impacts beyond temperature increases, severe storms, and sea level rise; and affirms the importance of governance in responding to these changes. The increasing emphasis in climate change science toward research in vulnerability, resilience, and adaptation also frames what the intelligence and defense communities need to know, including where there are dependencies and weaknesses that may allow climate change impacts to result in security threats and where social and economic interventions can prevent climate change impacts and other stressors from resulting in social and political instability or collapse.
Article
Hydro-climatic effects of future climate change in the Euphrates-Tigris Basin are investigated using dynamically downscaled outputs of different GCM (ECHAM5, CCSM3 and HadCM3) - emissions scenario (A1FI, A2 and B1) simulations. The suite of simulations (total five) enables an analysis taking into account the A2 emission scenario simulations of three different GCMs and another analysis based on the three different emissions scenario (A1FI, A2 and B1) simulations of one GCM (CCSM3). All scenario simulations indicate winter surface temperature increases in the entire basin, however, the increase is larger in the highlands. The greatest increase in the annual temperature by the end of century belongs to the CCSM3 A1FI simulation with an increment of 6.1 oC in the highlands. There is a broad agreement amongst the simulations in terms of the winter precipitation decrease in the highlands and northern parts and increase in the southern parts of the basin. A remarkable impact of warming could be seen on the snow water equivalent in the highlands where each simulation points out statistically significant decreases ranging from 55% (lower emissions) to 87% (higher emissions). Statistically significant declines (25 to 55%) are found for the annual surface runoff of the main headwaters area. Moreover, significant temporal shifts to earlier days (between 18 and 39 days depending on the scenario) are projected to occur in the surface runoff timing in the headwaters region. Projected annual surface runoff changes in all simulations suggest that the territories of Turkey and Syria within the basin are most vulnerable to climate change as they will experience significant decreases in the annual surface runoff. Eventually, however, the downstream countries, especially Iraq, may suffer more as they rely primarily on the water released by the upstream countries. The substantial changes in the hydro-climate of the basin, therefore, are likely to increase the challenges associated with the management of several dam reservoirs and hydropower plants in the basin in addition to causing further impacts on physical and biological components of the ecosystems along these rivers.
Article
This review examines the state of conflict and cooperation over transboundary water resources from an environmental, political, and human development perspective. Although the potential for outright war between countries over water is low, cooperation is often missing in disputes over transboundary resources. This background chapter will ▪ Provide a brief overview of the nature of conflict and experiences of cooperation over transboundary resources. ▪ Provide a conceptual basis for understanding cooperation and the costs of noncooperation over water. ▪ Indicate the possible triggers for conflict over water sharing and the implications on the livelihoods of ordinary communities. ▪ Offer evidence on the potential costs of noncooperation or even conflict over water resources. ▪ Analyze power asymmetries between riparian states and how they affect the outcomes of negotiations. ▪ Analyze different examples of cases that countries have used to manage the competition for water resources. ▪ Propose general principles and conclusions on conflict and cooperation.
Article
Global climatic changes caused by growing concentrations of atmospheric trace gases have the potential to alter international relationships, economics, behavior, and security. While there is debate about the extent to which environmental problems alone can lead to conflict, it is widely acknowledged that resource constraints can act as roots leading to economic pressures and tensions, or as triggers to conflict when other pressures and tensions exist between states. Recent widespread attention to the issue of global environmental problems, particularly climatic change, is leading to a re-examination and expansion of the traditional narrow definition of international security. This paper discusses likely paths to international frictions and tensions and the responses that might be most appropriate to minimize the adverse consequences of climatic change for international security.
Article
Countries that share rivers have a higher risk of military disputes, even when controlling for a range of standard variables from studies of interstate conflict. A study incorporating the length of the land boundary showed that the shared river variable is not just a proxy for a higher degree of interaction opportunity. A weakness of earlier work is that the existing shared rivers data do not distinguish properly between dyads where the rivers run mainly across the boundary and dyads where the shared river runs along the boundary. Dyads with rivers running across the boundary would be expected to give rise to resource scarcity-related conflict, while in dyads where the river forms the boundary conflict may arise because river boundaries are fluid and fuzzy. Using a new dataset on shared water basins and two measures of water scarcity, we test for the relevance of these two scenarios. Shared basins do predict an increased propensity for conflict in a multivariate analysis. However, we find little support for the fuzzy boundary scenario. Support for a scarcity theory of water conflict is somewhat ambiguous. Neither the number of river crossings nor the share of the basin upstream is significant. Dry countries have more conflict, but less so when the basin is large. Drought has no influence. The size of the basin, however, is significantly associated with conflict. Modernization theory receives some support in that development interacted with basin size predicts less conflict, and we find some evidence here for an environmental Kuznets curve. The importance of basin size suggests a possible ‘resource curse’ effect for water resources.
Article
“The previous war in the Middle East was about oil, the next war will be about water.” Such predictions have been made regularly, and particularly with reference to the possibility of upstream–downstream conflicts in major rivers which cross interstate boundaries. A good case can be made that competition over water resources may exacerbate conflict and contribute to interstate violence. More than 200 river systems are shared by two or more countries. Many rivers run between countries with a history of conflict, where water plays an important part in the economic life of the country. The dramatic statements about ‘water wars’, however, have a weaker foundation. As resource optimists have pointed out, there is an abundance of water where it is not subject to wasteful uses, human ingenuity can overcome water shortages, and nations can cooperate rather than fight to resolve international water issues. This study is built on newly generated data on boundary-crossing rivers, which have been added to the Correlates of War contiguity dataset. Our results indicate that a joint river does indeed increase the probability of militarized disputes and armed conflict over and above mere contiguity. This risk factor is comparable in size to standard control variables, but much smaller than the effect of contiguity itself. Water scarcity is also associated with conflict, and the upstream/downstream relationship appears to be the form of shared river most frequently associated with conflict. But these results are not very strong and we do not have any systematic data on the issues involved in the shared-river conflicts.