Ignore the feedback amount to anything human behavior modeling bottlenecks warming

The current model of the Earth’s climate reflects the physical and biophysical processes. But the Earth has entered a new state: Humans also adapt to environmental changes.


In Bangladesh, people are moved to a mosque in a safe place. Source: Magnum

The current model of the Earth’s climate reflects the physical and biophysical processes. But the Earth has entered a new state: Humans also adapt to environmental changes. This important case must be simulated. But only based on a simple economic narrative (from greenhouse gas emissions to unmitigated development) of future climate prediction and impractical.

Faced with drought and rising sea levels, people are correcting their behavior. University of Edinburgh quantitative Earth observation expert Paul I. Palmer and colleagues wrote that, despite the global climate policy to be effective, and the efforts made to achieve an ambitious green energy production and sustainable development objectives, but in a warmer world community there will be different. People will migrate to those resources are more abundant area, or stay in place their long life and gradually falling into poverty. “Population growth, urbanization, migration and war will be a mixed response to global climate change.” Palmer said.

The researchers pointed out that to understand how these events will be presented and what the response will be more effective, the Earth system models need to incorporate human – climate dynamics. Palmer mentioned, it will be a huge challenge: “We are just beginning to understand how people respond to their environment, however, ignores human behavior is not calculated the same as designing a bridge traffic..”

Decision Decision

Analog social – economic response to climate change, faces two important scientific challenges. First is a description of how people make decisions. The second is the expression of physical and biophysical relationship between humans and the Earth System component part.

Decision theory of how close a person or group based on values, aspirations, health, uncertainty and rationality to make a choice. For example, the value may vary with age, wealth, education, sex, cultural and religious changes. Some people may think that the use of nuclear energy is a practical way to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, and some people may not like it. Such as the average temperature rises, such as migration or choose to stay will be affected by droughts, fires and floods and other factors. Results and rewards may be as great with life and death.

UK Microsoft Research Laboratory for Computer Science ecologist Matthew J. Smith said that to understand the potential of the model, people need to conduct large-scale statistical data collection, for example, how people from different backgrounds respond to climate change? In the case of severe drought , what is the difference with the southern Australian residents living in Sub-Saharan Africa’s human behavior? what different low and middle-income families making?

Assess the impact of

Some statistical information can be obtained from existing databases, such as the United Nations or national census data compiled by health and education. Social and physical motivation measurement results can be obtained from social media and global positioning systems (GPS) in. A study in 2008 found that six months, 100,000 mobile phone users to travel long distances is not random, can be described by a simple function.

“Learn the history of the future will be able to tell us how.” Smith said, for example, AD 640 – 1200, Peruvian migration between the coastal valley civilization and Andes. Historical climate records and mitochondrial DNA sequences from the bones of the display when the residents of coastal areas appear droughts and floods forcing people to migrate to the mountains, and when the drought began to unfold in the new settlements, they return to the sea.

In addition, the study also found that since 1950, the war between the groups experience higher rates of outbreaks related to climate change: temperature or precipitation for each additional one standard deviation, the war will increase the rate of a few percentage points.

The researchers said that the need for more research and longitudinal studies to find out what is the strongest individual response risks and how they are actually responding. For example, a study of 1991 ~ 2012 Pakistani villagers migrate between intentions showed extreme heat will affect people’s choices, but it will not flood. The main reason is the high temperature did not bring financial compensation as flood relief.

“We have to find out which reflect the behavior of the measured values ​​can serve as a reliable indicator of the breadth.” Palmer said. For example, the income can be a powerful predictor of immigration, war and fertility, but income alone is not sufficient to predict the behavior of any one of these.

Typically, the individual can not always make rational decisions or independent. People often rely on simple rules to form a judgment. They may assume that others know more than their own, and therefore choose to follow social norms. Smith said that friends and relatives may also influence decision-making, in addition, is also a source of information and news online social media influence or.

Or, in the short term, may be independent and rational individual behavior, but in the long term there will jointly destroy shared resources, as climate change. People also usually based on too much or too little information to make decisions. For example, people may not understand the future in the context of the probability of occurrence of extreme precipitation on flood insurance.

Therefore, understanding how individual decisions in conjunction with social networks is essential to generate macroscopic behavior. For modelers challenge will be to find out what kind of social structure size (government, political parties, tribes, communities and neighbors) can maximize the impact and lead to regional differences.

The researchers said that a series of modeling techniques will be very necessary. One is the method based agent. Thousands of “subject” – the number of individual agents – and attributes such as age or wealth interactions based on simple rules encoded. Population dynamics of other complex diseases such as the spread of the response will be able to emerge. But the result depends on which properties are assigned, and therefore need to ensure that modelers have been singled out specific variables are important determinants of the response factors reality. War occurred in warmer areas, may reflect the decline in local economic conditions due to crop failure or flow into neighboring areas, but not on the physical effects of high temperature reactions.

Reasoning (eg, Bayesian calculation) which will be used to find an individual attribute the greatest impact on group behavior. For example, the simulation of individual groups with similar attributes method can still produce unexpected response groups, reveal the impact of the distribution of land and sea animals on ecosystems contrast.

Assess the situation

Palmer, who said that the human response to climate change modeling to note three main factors: interdisciplinary research, appropriate calculations and conceptual structures and better data.

Collaboration between natural and social scientists will promote the development of physical and virtual centers. Cambridge Isaac Newton Institute of Mathematics and other institutions will be committed to the development of mankind – climate population – modeling techniques. Mathematicians of the institution together to address the needs in many fields insight to solve problems.

The researchers also said that academic journals and funding agencies will need more support for such cooperation. The next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should also reflect the importance of social responses to climate change assessment report by the different working groups to understanding and modeling for.

“Scientists need access to the new database, and the consolidation of the existing decision-making processes and environmental change.” Smith said. After the combination of many factors, the new method should be fought with traditional methods to collect spatial and temporal dimensions of data. These will include social media, surveys and global positioning system data collection and analysis requires a certain set, which will make certain challenges computer scientists.

A parallel issue is how to store and analyze large volumes of multi-phase data. Individuals associated with large amounts of data (such as social network structure and movement patterns) may be associated with sensitive issues relating to commercial or private. Seriously relations are very important in business, government and academic institutions.

Ultimately, Palmer and Smith wrote: “We must build a cross-national data collection project, covering the public sector, private and volunteer although we reserve forests or biodiversity information, we should also regularly assess how people are changing the climate. As they change the climate. “

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