DAILY NEWS Apr 2, 2012 5:25 PM - 1 comment

1-in-20-year severe weather events likely to be 1-in-2-year events by end of 21st Century: report

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2012-04-02

A special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a portrait of a world in which 1-in-20-year heat waves are likely to become 1-in-2-year events by the end of the 21st century.

Similarly, 1-in-20-year maximum daily precipitation amounts will likely become 1-in-5-year events.

And even though tropical hurricanes may be less frequent in the future, their wind speeds will become stronger and their paths will shift polewards.

“Average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed is likely to increase, although increases may not occur in all ocean basins,” says the report, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. “It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged…

“While there is low confidence in the detailed geographical projections of extra-tropical cyclone activity, there is medium confidence in a projected poleward shift of extratropical storm tracks.”

Intended as a summary of climate change risk for policymakers, the report goes on to note a low confidence in projections of small spatial-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail “because competing physical processes may affect future trends and because current climate models do not simulate such phenomena.”

The report makes a number of observations related to managing the risk of climate change. Among them, it notes post-disaster recovery and reconstruction can provide an opportunity for reducing weather- and climate-related disaster risk and for improving adaptive capacity. But the opportunity might be lost if reconstruction efforts do not incorporate long-term plans to mitigate known risks.

“An emphasis on rapidly rebuilding houses, reconstructing infrastructure and rehabilitating livelihoods often leads to recovering in ways that recreate or even increase existing vulnerabilities [to climate change risks], and that preclude longer-term planning and policy changes for enhancing resilience and sustainable development,” the report says.

The full report can be found at:

http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/images/uploads/SREX-All_FINAL.pdf   

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