Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Feeling hot, hot, hot: Climate shapes distribution and movement of humans as it does other animals

Date:
October 24, 2012
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
Research shows importance of population movement and growth in shaping climate change over the past century in the United States

We're not used to thinking of ourselves as animals. But as Jason Samson sees it, climate is as important in shaping the distribution and movement of humans as it is in other animals. The McGill-trained ecologist and fellow researchers have been using modeling techniques similar to those used to define the ecological niche for plant and animal species to explore the correlation between climate patterns and population growth in the contiguous United States between 1900-2000. And what they discovered was a pronounced population shift away from areas within the U.S. with cool and seasonal climates, towards those areas that are warmer and drier year-round, and they found that this was the case even when it meant moving further away from agricultural lands.

Related Articles


By using census data and information about weather patterns (temperature and rainfall) gathered from the nearly 3 000 counties in the U.S. over the course of the century, Samson and his colleagues were able to show the predominant importance of the correlation between climate and demographic growth. Moreover, in the study just published in PLOS ONE, the researchers found that population growth was more correlated with climate than income, urbanization or food production.

The researchers found that the average American today not only lives in a drier environment than they did a century ago, but that they have also experienced a temperature increase of over 1.5 Celsius or 2.7 Fahrenheit over the last century. That represents a six-fold increase compared to the temperature change across the US during the same time period.

More and more Americans now live in the warm southern belt of the country that extends from California to Florida, and includes cities such as San Diego, Austin (the third largest growing city in the nation between 2000-2006) and Tampa. The researchers also point to the fact that demographic growth in these warmer and drier climates within the country, and the trend towards urbanization and agglomeration, has been happening at an accelerating pace over the course of the twentieth century, and is particularly noticeable within the last thirty years.

Although the researchers were able to show such a significant correlation between climate and demographic growth, they caution against thinking of climate as a strong predictive factor in determining population movements. They also caution that this concentration of population in warm, dry areas is likely to have a significant effect on human well-being in these locations due to monetary, and environmental factors (such as growing size and intensity of heat islands, increasing stress on limited water supplies, and the high cost of using air conditioning). And they suggest that policy makers may be well advised to consider this information as they plan for the future given the context of global climate change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jason Samson, Dominique Berteaux, Brian J. McGill, Murray M. Humphries. Demographic Amplification of Climate Change Experienced by the Contiguous United States Population during the 20th Century. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (10): e45683 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045683

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Feeling hot, hot, hot: Climate shapes distribution and movement of humans as it does other animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024175359.htm>.
McGill University. (2012, October 24). Feeling hot, hot, hot: Climate shapes distribution and movement of humans as it does other animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024175359.htm
McGill University. "Feeling hot, hot, hot: Climate shapes distribution and movement of humans as it does other animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121024175359.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins