Reducing Disaster: Early Warning Systems For Climate Change

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The Impact of Climate Change on Natural Disasters

  • Sandra BanholzerAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of British Columbia Email author 
  • , James KossinAffiliated withNOAA National Climatic Data CenterCooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin
  • , Simon DonnerAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of British Columbia

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This chapter explains what hazards and disasters are, reviews their trends, and assesses the potential impact of changing climate on hazards and extreme events. Observations since 1950 indicate increases in some forms of extreme weather events. The recent Special Report on Extreme Events and Disasters (SREX) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts further increases in the twenty-first century, including a growing frequency of heat waves, rising wind speed of tropical cyclones, and increasing intensity of droughts. A one-in-20-years “hottest day” event is likely to occur every other year by the end of the twenty-first century. Heavy precipitation events are also on the rise, potentially impacting the frequency of floods and almost certainly affecting landslides. This chapter also examines the science of event attribution, its potential and possible issues. It further outlines the global distribution and impact of natural disasters.


Climate change impact Natural hazards Disasters Event attribution Disaster risk distribution Tropical cyclone