21
Mar
11

Mapping human vulnerability to climate change.

Scientists from McGill University in Canada have cross referenced climate and emissions data with census information to map populations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Their conclusions highlight the inequality between some of the worlds poorest nations, whose people are likely to be impacted the most, and the developed world who makes the biggest contribution to the causes of global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases.

The map representing their finding highlights lower latitude, sub tropical regions as the most vulnerable. Areas such as Central and South America, the Arabian Peninsular and a huge percentage of Africa, are set to suffer most from the smallest changes in climate. Meanwhile those residing in more temperate climates in higher latitudes expect to see the least impact on their lives. Where crops are already difficult to grow, rising temperatures can only exacerbate drought and famine. Even though the actual rises are set to be greater in more temperate zones, the overall impact on vital factors such as agriculture and water availability will be much less, according to PhD candidate and research leader Jason Samson.

Samson also points out that when negotiations are taking place over climate change and legislation to control it, world leaders should consider this map and the ‘Climate Change Vulnerability Matrix’ which shows clearly the “disparity between the causes and consequences of climate change at a a national level”.

This follows a study by Nasa published on the InCarto blog which dispelled the myth that global warming would offer an overall benefit to the worlds agriculture through greater crop yields.

Download the full, detailed report here (pdf).

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