Current Climate Change Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 320–329 | Cite as

Weather Extremes, Disasters, and Collective Violence: Conditions, Mechanisms, and Disaster-Related Policies in Recent Research

  • Michael BrzoskaEmail author
Climate Change and Conflicts (E Gilmore and E Tennant, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Climate Change and Conflicts


Purpose of Review

Summary of research on the consequences of extreme weather events, which manifest themselves as disasters, for collective violence as well as on policy measures to mitigate such negative effects.

Recent Findings

A growing, but contested, majority of studies indicate a slight increase in the likelihood of the occurrence, escalation, and prolongation of collective violence in the wake of disasters. The identification of conditions and mechanisms, some of which increase the likelihood of violence and some of which have the opposite effect, helps us to understand the diversity of outcomes. This includes the consequences of political and humanitarian interventions prior to, during and after disasters, which can overlay local processes.


Conditions and mechanisms shaping the link between disasters and collective violence provide opportunities for policy interventions that are already, or can be, taken to mitigate the consequences of extreme events, increasing or reducing the likelihood and level of collective violence.


Climate change Extreme weather events Disasters Collective violence Armed conflict Humanitarian assistance Development assistance Migration 



Research support, as well as rich intellectual environments were provided by the Climate Analysis and Prediction (CLISAP) cluster of excellence at the University of Hamburg, Germany, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Exc 177), and the Minerva Center for the Rule of Law under Extreme Conditions, Faculty of Law and Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, Israel. I would like to thank Tobias Ide, Ilan Kelman, Michael Link, Jürgen Scheffran, Deborah Shmueli, and the editor for helpful comments on this text.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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