Publications / SAND Report

Climate change effects on international stability : a white paper

Boslough, Mark B.; Sprigg, James A.; Backus, George A.; Taylor, Mark A.; McNamara, Laura A.; Murphy, Kathryn M.; Malczynski, Leonard A.

This white paper represents a summary of work intended to lay the foundation for development of a climatological/agent model of climate-induced conflict. The paper combines several loosely-coupled efforts and is the final report for a four-month late-start Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project funded by the Advanced Concepts Group (ACG). The project involved contributions by many participants having diverse areas of expertise, with the common goal of learning how to tie together the physical and human causes and consequences of climate change. We performed a review of relevant literature on conflict arising from environmental scarcity. Rather than simply reviewing the previous work, we actively collected data from the referenced sources, reproduced some of the work, and explored alternative models. We used the unfolding crisis in Darfur (western Sudan) as a case study of conflict related to or triggered by climate change, and as an exercise for developing a preliminary concept map. We also outlined a plan for implementing agents in a climate model and defined a logical progression toward the ultimate goal of running both types of models simultaneously in a two-way feedback mode, where the behavior of agents influences the climate and climate change affects the agents. Finally, we offer some ''lessons learned'' in attempting to keep a diverse and geographically dispersed group working together by using Web-based collaborative tools.