Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 6, Issue 1–2, pp 53–62 | Cite as

Climate Change and Human Population Dynamics

  • Mustafa M. AralEmail author


Mathematical models are frequently used to predict population trends in biologic systems, ecologic applications, as well as for human populations. Most commonly these models are developed for static conditions for stable population trends that reflect the carrying capacity of the system under study. In this study we extend this concept to the analysis of dynamic carrying capacity of earth systems as these limits may change as a time-dependent function of the external stresses that are imposed on the system. It is anticipated that this would represent a typical case for environmental systems where the carrying capacity of the system is a function of future climatic conditions. This question was tackled in the literature qualitatively, indicating that sustainable population levels may collapse in view of adverse climatic conditions. In this study a model of this type is proposed and the stability conditions of world population are evaluated quantitatively for some scenarios. The outcome observed is that within the projected temperature increase ranges of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) studies (1–6C) the carrying capacity stability levels of world population will be mostly maintained albeit at much lower levels than present. However, for temperature increase scenarios close to and beyond ∼6C the world population may lose its stability characteristics, in which case drastic changes in population levels are expected. These quantitative observations indicate the urgency of imposing controls over increasing temperatures worldwide.


Climate change Population model Logistic equation Population dynamics Carrying capacity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Multimedia Environmental Simulations Laboratory, School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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