How do extreme weather events influence the risks we face due to climate change?
The role of extreme weather on World Meteorological Day
Extreme weather events are one example of the shocks caused by climate change. They include heatwaves, floods, droughts, storms, and storm surges. As climate change progresses, these shocks increase.
Impacts depends on degrees of vulnerability and exposure
How hard they hit us, depends on how vulnerable and exposed we are to the respective situation. For example, where does a hazard occur? What impact does it have on our work place or home? How greatly is our life and livelihood affected? In general, poor and marginalised people tend to be much more affected than rich people, partly because they have less reserves and support systems that help them to prepare for, cope with and recover from a shock.
Very often, the problems we face are a combination of extreme weather and other events, e.g. a heatwave reduces the ability of power plants to produce electricity, which then affects the availability of electricity to turn on air conditioning. In addition, shocks that arrive at our doorstep might have their origin at a different place, for example poor harvests that cause prices to increase elsewhere.
Understanding the risks is already part of the solution
Adapting to climate change means planning for the future by taking these risks into account: Early warning systems, urban planning, and social safety nets are a few examples. Especially, in the case of a recent shock, the chances for change and adaption are still very good, while the motivation to act decreases as time passes.
FAU’s ‘Info bites’ on the effects of climate change.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll publish info bites, small bits of information, about the outcomes of the report to show how climate change affects everybody and how we can work to limit its effects.
About the World Climate Report
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. In their latest report, published in late February, scientists outline the state of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge on climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for reducing the rate at which climate change is taking place. One of the report’s main authors is Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Kiessling, head of the Chair of Palaeontology.