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If I had the choice to move to an arbitrary region on the planet, which regions should I favour and which should I avoid in terms of habitability in face of the possibility of an extreme climate change?

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    $\begingroup$ With hopes for a good answer, I would recommend that you further expand your question with details about what you consider to be habitable. More moist/dry? Colder/warmer? No flooding is an obvious one, but it's good to be specific. $\endgroup$ – milancurcic Nov 5 '14 at 16:08
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    $\begingroup$ There is no such thing as "severe global warming". "Global Warming" leads to confusion and "climate change" should be preferred as the proper concept. Some places are going to get much warmer while others will become colder. I'm suggesting an edit $\endgroup$ – arkaia Feb 6 '15 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ @aretxabaleta I disagree... "severe global warming" is possible if there are enough GHGs in the atmosphere and if the orbital parameters are optimized. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Feb 6 '15 at 21:43
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    $\begingroup$ The post title and the post itself are asking different questions. Your personal ability to survive climate change depends on your personal circumstances. Food scarcity, for example, could be a major climatically-driven problem, and countries' abilities to cope with that will depend on whether they're net importers or exporters, how their net wealth is affected by other climatic and non-climatic factors, etc. On the other hand, if you're rich enough to move to protect against climate change, maybe you're rich enough to import your own food. $\endgroup$ – rensa Feb 6 '15 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ We also need to think about how much climate change we're talking about. The impacts of a 1--2 °C rise shake out very differently to those of a 4--5 °C rise or an 8--10 °C rise. $\endgroup$ – rensa Feb 6 '15 at 21:59
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The places on Earth that have historically had the most stable climates are typically within the tropics and close to sea level/coastlines. The tropics are not influenced as much by the rest of the Earth's weather patterns since it is more of a source of weather (e.g. the strong convective atmospheric motion that moves air away from the tropics due to the dominant solar heating). Staying close to coastlines ensures that any rising global temperatures are moderated by the abundance of water. Staying close to sea level ensures that you are not influenced much by changes in glacier activity nor snow-melt elevation changes.

There is literature that states that tropical ecosystems are most sensitive to climate change, and that tropical areas will see climate change sooner. However, my point is that the climate itself will be the least extreme in the tropical regions near the ocean. Furthermore, I would like to point out that climate change per se will not make most of the planet uninhabitable as the question insinuates. As the climate changes, there will certainly be very large changes to the land-surface and ecosystems... including desertification of some areas. However, any regions with sustainable ecosystems will be habitable, given that there is a source of fresh water large enough for the human population (which the Tropics often have, due to frequent rain... though areas dependent on snow-melt feeding rivers will suffer).

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    $\begingroup$ Staying close to shorelines ensures that you are maximally affected by sea level rise. $\endgroup$ – mart Jun 1 '15 at 11:46
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    $\begingroup$ I said coastlines, not shorelines. And I said close to sea level... not at it. Many coastlines are cliffs or have terrain that has dealt with changing sea levels. And, in the tropics, sea level change is not as drastic. In terms of climate, the most stable places are near sea level, at the coastlines, in the tropics. A couple feet of sea level change is not going to change that. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Apr 3 '17 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ Although, now I'm learning that sea level change distribution is not really a function of latitude at all. $\endgroup$ – farrenthorpe Jul 21 '17 at 5:54
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Places with stable climates like interior deserts are likely to be least affected by climate change. They will go from being simply "hellish" to moderately infernal. In Middle Eastern deserts for example, summertime temperature extremes will only rise perhaps another 5-10 degrees F, but will be enough to be mostly unsurvivable. Climatological fringes like equatorial mountain ranges, and polar latitudes will suffer the most, as they are currently.

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