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The Peruvian highlands were hit hard by El Niño in 1982, and crops were destroyed. The same year, guerrilla attacks by the Shining Path movement erupted into a civil war that would last 20 years. Random coincidence? Possibly not.
Solomon Hsiang, a researcher in international affairs at Princeton University, and colleagues looked at data on conflicts between 1950 and 2004 that killed more than 25 people in a year. They compared El Niño years, which happen roughly every five years, with La Niña years. El Niño tends to bring hotter, drier conditions - and La Niña cooler ones - to tropical countries (...)
the risk of conflict in tropical countries rose from 3 per cent during La Niña years to 6 per cent during El Niño years. The effect was absent from countries only weakly affected by these climate cycles.
But as Andrew Solow of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts points out, "People do not start wars simply because they are hot." And until we know what it is about El Niño that increases the likelihood of conflict, it will be impossible to say whether this means we should expect more unrest due to climate change.
Originally posted by adeclerk
I'd guess it has something to do with natural disasters causing a lot of stress on citizens, destroying homes and infrastructure, etc. Hard times usually precede conflict.
Why you would try to blame HAARP or some kind of "geo-engineering" for this
This conclusion — that fluctuations in climate can contribute to violence in modern societies — is a controversial proposal. In this case, the researchers admit they have yet to untangle the mechanisms that link a change in sea surface temperature with, for example, a guerilla war.