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Scientists say global violence could rise with global warming

Aug. 1, 2013 at 8:18 PM   |   Comments

BERKELEY, Calif., Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Violence will rise with climate changes, increasing between now and 2050 with warmer temperatures and extreme rainfall patterns, U.S. scientists predict.

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have analyzed data from studies on a wide range of subjects, including ancient wars, road rage, and even pitchers throwing at batters in Major League Baseball, to quantify the potential influence of climate warming on human conflict, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The incidence of war and civil unrest may increase by as much as 56 percent in the next four decades due to warmer temperature and extreme rainfall patterns predicted by climate change scientists, they said.

Interpersonal violence -- murder, assault, rape, domestic abuse -- could also rise, they said.

The researchers analyzed 60 scientific papers from a number of study areas, including climatology, archaeology, economics, political science and psychology.

"We find strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict ... across all major regions of the world," they concluded in a report on their studies published Thursday in the journal Science.

Why increased temperature and unpredictable patterns of rainfall would push people toward violence can only be speculated on, they said, and formal study of the so-called "heat hypothesis" suggesting high temperatures fuel aggressive and violent behavior is relatively new.

"The physiological mechanism linking temperature to aggression remains unknown," they wrote.

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