Relocation, relocation, relocation: Math could address climate change population concerns

April 1, 2009

As sea levels rise in the wake of climate change and semi-arid regions turn to desert, people living in those parts of the world are likely to be displaced. A mathematical approach to planned relocation reported in the International Journal of Mathematics and Operational Research.

Decision scientist Sajjad Zahir at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, and colleagues Ruhul Sarker of the University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia and Ziaul Al-Mahmud of Lethbridge Community Network, have devised a mathematical algorithm to address the problem of population relocation.

The team's multi-objective optimization approach will help governments decide what fraction of a population would need to be relocated and how many people could stay behind for effective adaptation to .

The "multi-objective" nature of the calculation takes into account people's preferences, various costs, and planning priorities with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the issue of relocation is addressed fairly and is economically viable.

Although mitigation measures are vitally important for controlling , there are limitations to such efforts novel approaches to allow us to adapt successfully to the effects of climate change are now needed, the researchers say. They point out that large-scale cross-border migrations may not be a feasible solution to land loss because of the societal costs and the effects on labor. An influx of environmental refugees from the worst affected parts of the developing world is also likely to face opposition from the developed world, they add.

The team's decision analysis factors in the "value" of new opportunities, lost opportunities, transportation costs, adaptation costs and other variables. This allows them to balance the books in terms of how migration would affect a population.

"To make adaptation a success, part of the population must be prepared to adapt to new or different work opportunities and living conditions and others may have to be relocated in a planned way to new locations that require accepting different working and environmental conditions," the researchers conclude, "Our methodology lets us find the fraction of people who would be relocated and who would stay in an optimal manner."

More information: "An interactive decision support system for implementing sustainable relocation strategies for adaptation to climate change: a multi-objective optimization approach" by Sajjad Zahir, Ruhul Sarker, and Ziaul Al-Mahmud in Int. J. Mathematics in Operational Research, 2009, 1, 329-350

Source: Inderscience Publishers (news : web)

Explore further: How California Water Supply Could Survive Warming, Growth

Related Stories

How California Water Supply Could Survive Warming, Growth

June 15, 2006

In a new report, the UC Davis authors of the most sophisticated analysis of California's water management system say the system should be able to adapt to a warmer climate and a larger population, albeit at a significant ...

Scientist: Adapt for global warming

September 5, 2006

The British Association for the Advancement of Science says the world must focus on preparing for the "hotter, drier world" that global warming will bring.

Most US organizations not adapting to climate change

December 2, 2008

Organizations in the United States that are at the highest risk of sustaining damage from climate change are not adapting enough to the dangers posed by rising temperatures, according to a Yale report.

King tides -- a glimpse of future sea level rise

January 12, 2009

( -- Tomorrow, beach-goers will get a glimpse of what our coastlines may look like in 50 years, when New South Wales and South East Queensland experience the highest daytime ‘king tides’ forecast for 2009.

Recommended for you

Mexican site yields new details of sacrifice of Spaniards

October 9, 2015

Excavations at the site of one of the Spanish conquistadors' worst defeats in Mexico are yielding new evidence about what happened when the two cultures clashed—and a native people, at least temporarily, was in control.

Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

October 8, 2015

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected ...

Rare braincase provides insight into dinosaur brain

October 8, 2015

Experts have described one of the most complete sauropod dinosaur braincases ever found in Europe. The find could help scientists uncover some of the mysteries of how dinosaur brains operated, including their intellectual ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (2) Apr 01, 2009
As long as the wind blows, the grass grows and the rain falls from the sky, the invisible hand will address "climate change" (sic) population concerns.

Economics may be a voodoo science compared to physics but compared to the study of "climate change" it is as exacting as Newton ever hoped to be.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.