Population and Environment

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 183–203 | Cite as

Forecasting environmental migration to the United Kingdom: an exploration using Bayesian models

  • Guy Abel
  • Jakub Bijak
  • Allan FindlayEmail author
  • David McCollum
  • Arkadiusz Wiśniowski
Original Paper


Over the next 50 years, the potential impact of environmental change on human livelihoods could be considerable, with one possible consequence being increased levels of human mobility. This paper explores how uncertainty about the level of immigration to the United Kingdom as a consequence of environmental factors elsewhere may be forecast using a methodology involving Bayesian models. The conceptual understanding of forecasting is advanced in three ways. First, the analysis is believed to be the first time that the Bayesian modelling approach has been attempted in relation to environmental mobility. Second, the paper considers the expediency of this approach by comparing the responses to a Delphi survey with conventional expectations about environmental mobility in the research literature. Finally, the values and assumptions of the expert evidence provided in the Delphi survey are interrogated to illustrate the limited set of conditions under which forecasts of environmental mobility, as set out in this paper, are likely to hold.


Bayesian forecasting Delphi survey Environmental mobility Climate change Environmental migration United Kingdom 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guy Abel
    • 1
  • Jakub Bijak
    • 2
  • Allan Findlay
    • 3
    Email author
  • David McCollum
    • 3
  • Arkadiusz Wiśniowski
    • 2
  1. 1.Vienna Institute of DemographyAustrian Academy of SciencesViennaAustria
  2. 2.Centre for Population Change, Social Sciences and DemographyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Centre for Population Change, Geography, School of Geography and GeosciencesUniversity of St AndrewsSt AndrewsUK

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