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Rise in violence 'linked to climate change





nickfyoung
They reckon now that a rise in violence would be the outcome of climate change. A rise of two degrees could result in a 15% increase in violence. We could be in for a pretty violent world if this proves to be correct and climate does change significantly.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23538771
Vanilla
That's a pretty bold affirmation. I know the paper was published in Science (every researcher's dream), but the examples cited were interesting. First of all, how do they quantify violence? Can they isolate the climate effect from the effects caused by other factors (such as poverty)? One would need an astounding amount of time and n to prove the correlation between time and violence to dilute the effect of other factors.

I didn't read the paper but I would love to hear someone who read it.

P.S.: I hate the cold and I'm more happy/outgoing during the summer. People are more happy in the summer. Let's say that robbery increases in beaches during summer: they increased because of the heat or because of the large number of people in the beach during summer? Just trying to understand. Very Happy
Peterssidan
I have noticed that the combination of small irritation and the start of sweating can trigger an aggressive response. This have happened for instance when cleaning the house or when mowing the lawn.

The vacuum cleaner spews out hot air making the room hot and it's easy to get a little irritated on the vacuum cleaner if it almost falls apart or things are in the way. When mowing it's often slopes, bushes and low tree that you have to duck to get under that irritates me.

Usually it's not a problem. These are things I can usually accept to live with. But if I get too hot I get a short temper. I never become violent against other people or anything like that. It's usually just that I become more careless with the things around me and the things I hold in.

So to me it make sense that higher temperatures could cause more violence in situations when the person have hard to control himself and the irritation is another person.

Vanilla wrote:
First of all, how do they quantify violence? Can they isolate the climate effect from the effects caused by other factors (such as poverty)? One would need an astounding amount of time and n to prove the correlation between time and violence to dilute the effect of other factors.

But climate change can trigger effects that cause more violence. Climate change could increase poverty which in turn increase violence so you can't totally ignore violence caused by poverty if you try to find out what impact climate change has on violence.
Bluedoll
It might be possible. Not sure how they come up with the percentage figure though. How could you determine such a figure? I’ve noticed how when the weather changes people show they can become irritated in places like traffic or even in stores. For example, lousy weather for days on end will change peoples moods and they react in public places, while good weather brings out the better in them. This is not always true though in times of disaster where it has been observed that people can actually pull together and help each other in these extreme conditions. I would think that any change will bring an effect but it might be also be possible that the effect it has on humans like the weather could be very unpredictable.
deanhills
Agreed Bluedoll. I'd say it is bogus. I live in one of the hottest countries in the world in the Middle East, the UAE, and the crime rate is probably a small fraction of the crime rate in North America. Even in Dubai, which is a very large city and comparable with other large cities in the world, crime rate is minimal.
standready
Peterssidan wrote:
if I get too hot I get a short temper.

You and me both.
Bluedoll
a
deanhills wrote:
Agreed Bluedoll. I'd say it is bogus. I live in one of the hottest countries in the world in the Middle East, the UAE, and the crime rate is probably a small fraction of the crime rate in North America. Even in Dubai, which is a very large city and comparable with other large cities in the world, crime rate is minimal.
It is a complicated thing (violence vs weather) to give stats on I think. In my area, I am used to cooler weather and so when the heat wave comes I can get irritable just because of the sticky weather. Not used to it.

The amount of violence is also dependent on the culture perhaps as some cultures are prone to be aggressive?

A recent documentary I watched on tv showed a Canadian questioning American shop owners and pro gun owners about crime versus open gun sales. The comment returned to the interviewer was forget it, you will never get our guns! Maybe, violence is not just about the weather but about the belief’s and attitudes of a population?
deanhills
Bluedoll wrote:
a
deanhills wrote:
Agreed Bluedoll. I'd say it is bogus. I live in one of the hottest countries in the world in the Middle East, the UAE, and the crime rate is probably a small fraction of the crime rate in North America. Even in Dubai, which is a very large city and comparable with other large cities in the world, crime rate is minimal.
It is a complicated thing (violence vs weather) to give stats on I think. In my area, I am used to cooler weather and so when the heat wave comes I can get irritable just because of the sticky weather. Not used to it.
OK, now that is a good perspective on it. "Not used to it". If one is used to the very hot weather, then that may not be as much as a source of stress, as going from a lower temperature to a much higher one.
RosenCruz
A very interesting research, indeed. And I kind of agree with the results, just like Peterssidan's example
Marcuzzo
I also agree, in countries where the winters are cold and have temperatures below -10°C and summers of +30°C it is possible.
But I think that the rise of violence has more sources then just the change in climate.
the ongoing recession, poverty, lack of tolerance, the latter is one of the main culprits in my opinion.
Ankhanu
Vanilla wrote:
That's a pretty bold affirmation. I know the paper was published in Science (every researcher's dream), but the examples cited were interesting. First of all, how do they quantify violence? Can they isolate the climate effect from the effects caused by other factors (such as poverty)? One would need an astounding amount of time and n to prove the correlation between time and violence to dilute the effect of other factors.

Remember, Correlation ≠ Causation; this paper (apparently) correlated increased violence with historic climate changes, but doesn't address causation...
Temperature changes are associated with several weather changes, affecting such things as water deposition patterns, winds, etc. These changes can have major impacts upon crop success/failure and (obviously) water availability, among other things. Resource shifts are often reason for conflict. The report and abstract don't seem to really point to resource shifts, however, and it seems that the paper doesn't explore the causal factors within the correlation... just states correlation, recognizing the individual factors need to be explored.
This seems to be a preliminary study, a finding that leads to additional, more in depth research to discover the underlaying factors. As usual, science reporting is somewhat misleading, suggesting a preliminary study is a final result with stronger implications than are actually put forth in the paper(s).

Vanilla wrote:
I didn't read the paper but I would love to hear someone who read it.

It's unfortunately behind a pay wall; I have access to Science subscriptions, but the publisher restricts access to digital copies for a year, and I'm a good 600km drive from the actual library :/
seany
Bluedoll wrote:
...good weather brings out the better in them...


In my experience, more people behave badly in "good weather" (i.e. sunny weather). In colder weather (it's foggy here most of the year) they behave badly indoors.
Vanilla
Ankhanu wrote:
Remember, Correlation ≠ Causation; this paper (apparently) correlated increased violence with historic climate changes, but doesn't address causation...


Yes, but most people would read the article and just go "holy cow, heat causes violence!!11". I wish they addressed the results of the paper more carefully. As you said, it is misleading and I believe the news are going to circulate here in my country as heat = violence. Our violence is not caused by heat but by a myriad of other factors. Lousy politics will use this to justify violence and I'm already feeling sick. :S

Ankhanu wrote:
It's unfortunately behind a pay wall; I have access to Science subscriptions, but the publisher restricts access to digital copies for a year, and I'm a good 600km drive from the actual library :/


Meh, I've tried to read it too but my university's online signature don't give me access to Science papers. But I'm curious. Hate being curious. Razz
Afaceinthematrix
I have not read it and I am also very limited on time (I have about two minutes to make this post).

Therefore, I didn't even read the responses in this post. But, a rise in global temperature could kill crops and make resources far scarcer and people love to fight over resources. Although I did read Vanilla's first response and she did make some extremely valid points.

I would have to read the actual paper to see if it sounds convincing as well as check the citations. I am going into it very skeptically (as you should when you go into almost anything - especially science!).
tonberry
Yes, the article was published in Science, but almost no scientists treated it seriously after it went public. Similar research has been done and it was even less approved. Surprisingly, in some cities spikes in summer temperature causes increase in violence, in other cities there is no visible effect Smile

It is a common thing in science and in statistics in general: sometimes in some cases things and repetitively out of ordinary, but in most cases there is no such correlation and in another ones the correlation works the other way around.

Statistics is an extremely tricky subject based on unstable molecues and every paranoid mind can find assurance in numbers if he digs deep enough, that's just the way life is Wink
watersoul
I found this PDF about similar research on temperature and violent crime:

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Quote:
General Discussion
The consistency of results across the major
field studies in this area is impressive. The
Carlsmith and Anderson (1979) riot data and
the present two studies on crime suggest that
aggression is linearly (or monotonically) related
to ambient temperature across different
dependent variables and across different u.S.
cities.
In addition, a recent unpublished article
by Cotton (1982) reported a significant linear
correlation between temperature and violent
crime, and no curvilinear effect, for a 'large
midwestern city. However, as Carlsmith and
Anderson (1979) pointed out, the relationship
must become curvilinear at some point, because
at extremely high temperatures everyone
gets sick and dies, precluding aggressive acts.
The question is whether. the decrease in
aggression With increasing temperatures occurs
within the normal range of temperatures. The
field studies suggest that it does not.
http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/faculty/caa/abstracts/1979-1984/84AA.PDF


Further research in 1987 appears to reinforce this temperature/crime relationship, as does this (subscription only paper unfortunately) from the British Journal of Criminology:

Quote:
An analysis of annual, quarterly, and monthly data for recorded crime in England and Wales yielded strong evidence that temperature has a positive effect on most types of property and violent crime. The effect was independent of seasonal variation. No relationship between crime and rainfall or hours of sunshine emerged in the study. The main explanation advanced is that in England and Wales higher temperatures cause people to spend more time outside the home. Time spent outside the home, in line with routine activity explanations for crime, has been shown to increase the risk of criminal victimization for most types of crime. The results suggest that temperature is one of the main factors to be taken into account when explaining quarter-to-quarter and month-to-month variations in recorded crime.
http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/32/3/340.abstract


It is certainly interesting and would not surprise me from my own experiences and other anecdotal evidence.
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