A study relating climate to conflict in East African nations finds that increased rainfall dampens conflict while unusually hot periods can cause a flare-up, reinforcing the theory that climate change will cause increased scarcity in the region. The study was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Politicians and many scientists have called climate change a security risk, based on the idea that unusual variations in weather are likely to put immense strain on rural societies dependent on farming and livestock for survival. But the results of studies trying to confirm such a hypothesis have been mixed.

The authors of the new study, from the University of Colorado and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, believe that problems with previous studies may have contributed to previous failures to link climate and conflict, including the use of data only at the country level rather than at the regional or local level.

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