PhD reviews climate change in Civ VI: Gathering Storm
In this video I put my PhD in atmospheric physics to use and review the climate change in Civ VI: Gathering Storm! I talk about the game’s mechanics, the frequency of extreme weather events, and the knock-on effects on human behaviour in the game. In short, the game does a very good job, way beyond a crude depiction of global warming. Thanks to 2K and Firaxis for providing early access to the game!
(1) See http://www.trillionthtonne.org/questions.html
(2) As ever, SkepticalScience has your back: https://skepticalscience.com/Climate-Change-The-40-Year-Delay-Between-Cause-and-Effect.html
(3) For a cool interactive report about how hurricanes have changed with anthropogenic climate change, see https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/our-changing-climate/changes-hurricanes
(4) Note here that I’m talking about the mean ‘waviness’ of the jet stream, leading to more frequent and more intense outbreaks of Arctic air. The recent cold outbreak over North America was likely exacerbated by this effect, but not caused by it – the root cause was a SSW, which current science indicates was not made more likely due to climate change.
(5) See e.g. https://oxfordre.com/climatescience/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.001.0001/acrefore-9780190228620-e-344
(6) Natural variability in the atmosphere is something of a politicized and so thorny topic. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hockey_Stick_and_the_Climate_Wars for an idea of why I didn’t want to delve into this in detail.
There are a few things which I didn’t mention in the video because I recorded it in a great hurry. Here are three of them. Firstly the game only specifically addresses CO2 emissions rather than a multitude of gases such as methane – this is technically inaccurate but I can understand why they simplified it. Secondly I didn’t talk about any quantitative aspects of X emissions equating to Y warming or Z sea ice loss as that would require a standardised unit of emissions in the game, which it doesn’t provide! Besides, there’s no reason to believe that all other geophysical parameters would be the same as our Earth, making any kind of quantitative analysis difficult at best (and, to be honest, not that interesting!). Lastly, arguably the most unrealistic part of the game is that all world leaders in it believe that climate change is a significant issue!