Scientists rely on precise measurements to determine how the climate is changing. But new research finds that observations from the rest of us matter, too.

Fishing in Bangladesh
Mongla, Bangladesh. Fishing is the main source of income for local people, but the quantity of fish in the delta is decreasing.

Simon Fraser University scientists looked at the first-hand experiences of 92,000 people around the world – specifically people who obtain their food directly by farming, hunting, or fishing.

From Sweden to Bangladesh, and across every continent, most accounts bore witness to changes in temperature, rainfall, wind, floods, and animal migration patterns.

The observations also identified some unexpected changes that warrant research, such as more rain in an area where scientists projected less.

Co-author Valentina Savo says the study underscores that climate change is already impacting people around the world.

Savo: “For these communities it’s real, and it’s happening in their own villages, and it’s happening now.”

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The changes threaten food security and traditional culture in many of these communities. So Savo says the research team’s next mission is to dig deeper for insights on how communities are adapting. As more people share their observations, the more we can learn about climate change – and the better prepared we’ll all be for what’s yet to come.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Bangladesh photo: Copyright protected.

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Observations of climate change among subsistence-oriented communities around the world

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...