Public Release: 

Climigration? UNH expert explores threat of climate change on populations

University of New Hampshire

DURHAM, N.H. - Climigration refers to migration caused by climate change. The term was coined to describe the predicament of northern Alaska populations who live on the "front line of climate change," facing immediate threats from erosion and flooding associated with thawing permafrost, increasing river flows, and reduced sea ice protection of shorelines. Is climate-induced migration already occurring from these places? Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, will speak about this phenomenon at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting being held Feb. 16-20 in Boston.

What: "Climigration? Population and Climate in the North"

Who: Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, shares new findings about the growing risk of climigration.

When: Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, 3-4:30 p.m.

Where: Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Room 313

Why: The term climigration, referring to migration caused by climate change, originally was coined for Arctic Alaska towns forced to relocate. Some historical movements have been attributed to climate change, but closer study tends to find multiple causes, making it difficult to quantify the climate contribution. Clearer attribution might come from comparisons of migration rates among places that are similar in most respects, apart from known climatic impacts. Hamilton applies this approach using annual 1990-2015 migration time series on 43 Arctic Alaska towns and villages. Although climigration is not detectable to date, growing risks make either planned or unplanned movements unavoidable in the near future.

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