Impacts of climate change on human population dynamics

Impacts of climate change on human population dynamics
Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash

Millions of international migrants and refugees have recently arrived in Europe, animating debates about the best ways to manage migration. Even more people are being displaced within their home countries every year due to natural disasters like river floods and storms; events that are projected to affect more and more people with increasing global warming. Underlying these sudden events is a steady flow of people leaving their rural livelihoods behind and flocking to the cities in an ongoing trend towards urbanization. Climate change has the potential to alter migration patterns through different channels: by increasing the risk of displacement induced by climate and weather extremes; through differential impacts on countries’ economies that widen the income gaps and fuel international migration; or by contributing to social destabilization and conflict, which in turn can act as push factors for migration. The working group is dedicated to the development of a deeper understanding of how climate change may affect migration and to developing quantitative models representing the underlying dynamics on different spatial scales. These models will be used to provide potential realizations of future migration flows and population patterns under different scenarios of bio-physical climate impacts (e.g. from ISIMIP), socio-economic development, and demographic changes. Simultaneously, the implications of climate impacts for social stability, especially in polarized societies or countries with weak institutions, will be investigated in order to understand the climate-migration-conflict nexus.

Working Group Leader:

Jacob Schewe