Saturday, November 10, 2012

Climate Change and Social Stress

The National Research Council released this week a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies - - Climate Change and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis.  The release of the report had been delayed due to Hurricane Sandy.
The C.I.A. and Department of Defense will be faced with a future of more frequent and unpredictable weather crises.  This will impact water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains, and public health systems.  The report highlights how ill prepared we are for the potentially near-apocalyptic catastrophes that a heated planet could produce.
From the report:
"Anthropogenic climate change can reasonably be expected to increase the frequency and intensity of a variety of potentially disruptive environmental events—slowly at first, but then more quickly. Some of this change is already discernible. Many of these events will stress communities, societies, governments, and the globally integrated systems that support human well-being. Science is unlikely ever to be able to predict the timing, magnitude, and precise location of these events a decade in advance, but much is already known that can inform security analysis, including details about the character of events that are becoming more likely and about the general trajectory of increasing risk."


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    To determine the distribution of stress in a structure it is necessary to solve a boundary-value problem by specifying the boundary conditions, i.e. displacements and/or forces on the boundary. Constitutive equations, such as e.g. Hooke's Law for linear elastic materials, are used to describe the stress:strain relationship in these calculations. A boundary-value problem based on the theory of elasticity is applied to structures expected to deform elastically, i.e. infinitesimal strains, under design loads. When the loads applied to the structure induce plastic deformations, the theory of plasticity is implemented.
    One of the primary areas of responsibilities of having stress engineering jobs is to set strategic design direction for the structural layout through manufacturing processes.

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