Armies facing the climate challenge


DECRYPTION – Floods, fires, heat waves … Troops from all countries are preparing to face climate change.

Army meteorologists are watching the temperature curve closely. In certain theaters of operations or bases such as that in Djibouti which is regularly subjected to intense heat, the analysis of “thermal stress”, that is to say the combination of humidity and heat, is a determining factor in the planning of ‘an air mission. It is for example not to make take off a pilot who would have had a “hot stroke”. Sometimes it is also necessary to modify the training schedules, with chain consequences on the life of a base. During certain missions, the take-off fuel load may be reduced to reduce the risks associated with heat. But the autonomy in flight is then restricted …

For the armed forces, climate change is an operational issue even beyond the multiple strategic consequences: displacement of populations, impact of heat on social behavior, opening of waterways in the Arctic, etc.

Climate change also makes it necessary to review the training of soldiers.

Angélique Palle, researcher and specialist in environmental and defense issues at Irsem.

The army

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