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Impact of Climate Change on Human Populations

D. Samson, B. Berteaux, J. McGill, M. M. Humphries, Dept of Natural Resource Sciences, McGill University, Blackwell Publishing

This visualization is a map showing the global Climate Demography Vulnerability Index (CDVI) - areas of human population with the highest vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Static Visualization supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Human health and well-being will be affected to different degrees from the impacts from climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7f
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Science

  • Map uses the relationship between the distribution of human population density and climate as a basis to develop a global index of predicted impacts of climate change on human populations.
  • It is reported in this news item: http://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/news/item/?item_id=172326
  • Taken from this article: http://www.uqar.ca/files/biodiversite-nordique/Samsonetal2011GEB.pdf and http://www.mcgill.ca/channels/news/mapping-human-vulnerability-climate-change-172326.
  • The data sources are included in the article.
  • The map uses the acronym - CDVI - that refers to the climate demography vulnerability index developed in the article.
  • Challenges the notion that the areas of highest climate change impact on human populations would be the same as the areas of highest climate change impact measured in biophysical terms. To understand this point, however, the educator will have to be familiar with the methodology used to produce it. The kinds of analysis required to produce this map are not apparent from the map itself.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Impact of climate change on human population is certainly an interesting topic. However this material is not sufficient to be used as a standalone teaching material.

About the Pedagogy

  • This is a provocative map - challenging the notion that the areas of highest climate change impact on human populations would be the same as the areas of highest climate change impact measured in biophysical terms.
  • To understand this point, however, the educator will have to be familiar with the methodology used to produce it.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The quality of the image in the pdf of the original article (http://www.uqar.ca/files/biodiversite-nordique/Samsonetal2011GEB.pdf) is higher than the one in the resource URL.
  • Educators will need the original article in order to present this map.
  • This visual and associated paper are possible way of engaging other fields (i.e. sociology, social studies, etc.)
  • A highly specialized resource, with data missing in Sahara and Australia.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Static Visualization supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.


Cross Cutting Concepts: 6

Patterns, Cause and effect, Scale, Proportion and Quantity, Systems and System Models

HS-C1.1:Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena

HS-C1.2:Classifications or explanations used at one scale may fail or need revision when information from smaller or larger scales is introduced; thus requiring improved investigations and experiments.

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C3.3:Patterns observable at one scale may not be observable or exist at other scales.

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

HS-C4.4:Models can be used to predict the behavior of a system, but these predictions have limited precision and reliability due to the assumptions and approximations inherent in models.

Science and Engineering Practices: 5

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models

HS-P1.1:ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P1.2:ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.

HS-P1.4:ask questions to clarify and refine a model, an explanation, or an engineering problem

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

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