Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Hydrometeorological Hazards

  • Gordon McBean
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_179


Climate and related hazards; Flood; Water; Weather


Process or phenomenon of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage. (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, UNISDR, 2009a).


Throughout the history of this planet, hydrometeorological hazards have had great impact. From the prehistoric to biblical floods to the tragic events of recent times, humanity has been afflicted by floods, storms and droughts. In 2008, Cyclone Nargis swept through the Bay of Bengal and caused over 130,000 deaths in Myanmar (Center for the Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, CRED, 2010); 17 years earlier Cyclone Gorky had resulted in a similar death toll in Bangladesh. Drought in sub-Saharan Africa has been a frequent occurrence and in 1983 the death tolls in Ethiopia and Sudan...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alexander, D., 1997. the study of natural disasters, 1977–1997: some reflections on a changing field of knowledge. Disasters, 21(4), 284–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander, L. V., and Arblaster, J. M., 2009. Assessing trends in observed and modelled climate extremes over Australia in relation to future projections. International Journal of Climatology, 29(3), 417–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ali, A., and Lebel, T., 2009. The Sahelian standardized rainfall index revisited. International Journal of Climatology, 29(12), 1705–1714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bender, M. A., Knutson, T. R., Tuleya, R. E., Sirutis, J. J., Vecchi, G. A., Garner, S. T., and Held, I. M., 2010. Modeled impact of anthropogenic warming on the frequency of intense Atlantic hurricanes. Science, 327(5964), 454–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bengtsson, L., Hodges, K. I., and Keenlyside, N., 2009. Will extratropical storms intensify in a warmer climate? Journal of Climate, 22(9), 2276–2301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beniston, M., 2009. Trends in joint quantiles of temperature and precipitation in Europe since 1901 and projected for 2100. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L07707, doi:10.1029/2008GL037119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Breda, N., and Badeau, V., 2008. Forest tree responses to extreme drought and some biotic events: towards a selection according to hazard tolerance? Comptes Rendus Geoscience, 340(9–10), 651–662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burke, E. J., Brown, S. J., and Christidis, N., 2006. Modeling the recent evolution of global drought and projections for the twenty-first century with the Hadley centre climate model. Journal of Hydrometeorology, 7(5), 1113–1125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Burton, I., Kates, R. W., and White, G. F., 1993. The Environment as Hazard. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  10. CCSP, 2008. Weather and climate extremes in a changing climate. Regions of focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. In Karl, T. R., et al. (eds.), A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. Department of Commerce, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center: Washington, DC, 164 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Christensen, J. H., Hewitson, B., Busuioc, A., Chen, A., Gao, X., Held, I., Jones, R., Kolli, R. K., Kwon, W.-T., Laprise, R., Magaña Rueda, V., Mearns, L., Menéndez, C. G., Räisänen, J., Rinke, A., Sarr, A., and Whetton, P., 2007. Regional climate projections. In Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K. B., Tignor, M., and Miller, H. L. (eds.), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009. Updating the World on the latest climate science. I. Allison, et al. The University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC), Australia, 60 ppGoogle Scholar
  13. CRED, 2010. Center for the research on the epidemiology of disasters. http://www.emdat.be.
  14. Descurieux, J., 2010. Post Hoc evaluation of hazardous weather: snowstorms in the Montréal, Québec, area in March 2008. Weather, Climate, and Society, 2, 36–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Easterling, D. R., Wallis, T. W. R., Lawrimore, J. H., and Heim, R. R., 2007. Effects of temperature and precipitation trends on U.S. drought. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L20709, doi:10.1029/2007GL031541.Google Scholar
  16. Easterling, D. R., et al., 2008. Measures to improve our understanding of weather and climate extremes. In Karl, T. R., et al. (eds.), Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. Elsner, J. B., Kossin, J. P., and Jagger, T. H., 2008. The increasing intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones. Nature, 455(7209), 92–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Emori, S., and Brown, S. J., 2005. Dynamic and thermodynamic changes in mean and extreme precipitation under changed climate. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, L17706.Google Scholar
  19. Fischer, E. M., Seneviratne, S. I., Lüthi, D., and Schär, C., 2007a. The contribution of land-atmosphere coupling to recent European summer heatwaves. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L06707.Google Scholar
  20. Fischer, E. M., Seneviratne, S. I., Vidale, P. L., Lüthi, D., and Schär, C., 2007b. Soil moisture – atmosphere interactions during the 2003 European summer heatwave. Journal of Climate, 20, 5081–5099.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gall, M., Borden, K. A., and Cutter, S. L., 2009. When do losses count? Six fallacies of natural hazards loss data. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 90, 799–809.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gillett, N. P., Stott, P. A., and Santer, B. D., 2008. Attribution of cyclogenesis region sea surface temperature change to anthropogenic influence. Geophysical Research Letters, 35, L09707, doi:10.1029/2008GL033670.Google Scholar
  23. Godschalk, D. R., 1991. Disaster mitigation and hazard management. In Drabek, T. E., and Hoetmer, G. J. (eds.), Emergency Management Principles and Practice for Local Government. Washington: International City Management Association Washington.Google Scholar
  24. Godschalk, D. R., and Brower, D. J., 1985. Mitigation strategies and integrated emergency management. Public Administration Review, 45, 64–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Greene, A. M., Giannini, A., and Zebiak, S. E., 2009. Drought return times in the Sahel: a question of attribution. Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L12701, doi:10.1029/2009GL038868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Handmer, J., 2003. Adaptive capacity: what does it mean in the context of natural hazards. In Smith, J. B., Klein, R. J. T., and Huq, S. (eds.), Climate Change, Adaptive Capacity and Development. London: Imperial College Press, pp. 51–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Heim, R. R., Jr., 2002. A review of twentieth-century drought indices used in the United States. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 83, 1149–1165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Henstra, D., and McBean, G., 2005. Canadian disaster management policy: moving toward a paradigm shift? Canadian Public Policy, 31(3), 303–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. International Council for Science, 2003. Priority area assessment on environment and its relation to sustainable development. http://www.icsu.org/Gestion/img/ICSU_DOC_DOWNLOAD/58_DD_FILE_ICSU_PAA_REPORT.pdf.
  30. International Council for Science, 2008. A Science Plan for Integrated Research on Disaster Risk: Addressing the Challenge of Natural and Human-Induced Environmental Hazards. ISBN 978-0-930357-66-5.Google Scholar
  31. IPCC, 2004. IPCC Workshop on describing scientific uncertainties in climate change to support analysis of risk and of options. 11–13 May 2004, Ireland, 2004. Workshop Report. See http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/meeting/URW/product/URW_Report_v2.pdf.
  32. IPCC, 2007. Summary for policymakers. In Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Avery, K. B., Tignor, M., and Miller, H. L. (eds.), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. IPCC, 2012. Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. In Field, C.B., Barros, V., Stocker, T. F., Qin, D., Dokken, D. J., Ebi, K. L., Mastrandrea, M. D., Mach, K. J., Plattner, G. -K., Allen, S. K., Tignor, M., and Midgley, P. M. (eds.). A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, pp 582.Google Scholar
  34. Jolliffe, I. T., and Stephenson, D. B., 2003. Forecast Verification: A Practitioner’s Guide in Atmospheric Science. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Kallis, G., 2008. Droughts. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 33, 85–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kharin, V., Zwiers, F. W., Zhang, X., and Hegerl, G. C., 2007. Changes in temperature and precipitation extremes in the IPCC ensemble of global coupled model simulations. Journal of Climate, 20, 1419–1444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Knutson, T. R., Sirutis, J. J., Garner, S. T., Vecchi, G. A., and Held, I. M., 2008. Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first- century warming conditions. Nature Geoscience, 1(6), 359–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Leiss, W., 2001. Understanding Risk Controversies. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Lloyd-Hughes, B., and Saunders, M. D., 2002. A drought climatology for Europe. International Journal of Climatology, 22, 1571–1592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lorenz, E., 1993. The Essence of Chaos. Seattle: University of Washington Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McBean, G. A., 2002. Prediction as a basis for planning and response. Water International, 7(1), 70–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McBean, G. A., 2005. Risk mitigation strategies for tornadoes in the context of climate change and development. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 10(3), 357–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McBean, G. A., 2007. Role of prediction in sustainable development and disaster management. In Brauch, H. G., Grin, J., Mesjasz, C., Dunay, P., Chadha Behera, N., Chourou, B., Oswald Spring, U., Liotta, P. H., and Kameri-Mbote, P. (eds.), Globalisation and Environmental Challenges: Reconceptualising Security in the 21st Century. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York/Hong Kong/London/Milan/Paris/Tokyo: Springer. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, Vol. 3.Google Scholar
  44. McBean, G., 2009a. Introduction of a new international research program: integrated research on disaster risk – the challenge of natural and human-induced environmental hazards. In Beer, T. (ed.), Geophysical Hazards: Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Awareness. Berlin: Springer. International Year of Planet Earth series.Google Scholar
  45. McBean, G., 2009b. Coping with global environmental change: need for an interdisciplinary and integrated approach. In Brauch, H. G., Oswald Spring, U., Mesjasz, C., Grin, J., Kameri-Mbote, P., Chourou, B., Dunay, P., and Birkmann, J. (eds.), Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security Threats, Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Risks. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace.Google Scholar
  46. McBean, G. A., and Ajibade, I., 2009. Climate change, related hazards and human settlements. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1(2), 179–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. McBean, G. A., and Rodgers, C. 2010. Climate hazards and disasters: the needs for capacity building. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change. 1–6, 871–884.Google Scholar
  48. McEntire, D. A., 2001. Triggering agents, vulnerabilities and disaster reduction: towards a holistic paradigm. Disaster Prevention and Management, 10(3), 189–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Meehl, G. A., Arblaster, J. M., and Tebaldi, C., 2005. Understanding future patterns of increased precipitation intensity in climate model simulations. Geophysical Research Letters32, L18719.Google Scholar
  50. Mesjasz, C., 2005. Prediction in security, theory and policy. Paper presented at the First World International Studies Conference at Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey, 24–27 August.Google Scholar
  51. Mileti, D. S., 1999. Disasters by Design: A Reassessment of Natural Hazards in the United States. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press.Google Scholar
  52. Mirza, M. M. Q., 2003. Climate change and extreme weather events: can developing countries adapt? Climate Policy, 3, 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. MunichRe Group, 2007. Press release. http: www.munichre.com.
  54. Murphy, A. H., 1997. Forecast verification. In Katz, R. W., and Murphy, A. H. (eds.), Economic Value of Weather and Climate Forecasts. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 19–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mutter, J. C., 2005. The Earth sciences, human well-being, and the reduction of global poverty. In EOS, 86,16, 19 April, vol 157, pp. 164–165.Google Scholar
  56. NatCatService, 2010. Geo Risks Research – Long-term statistics since 1950. http://www.munichre.com/en/ts/geo_risks/natcatservice/long-term_statistics_since_1950/default.aspx.
  57. National Research Council, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, 1998. The atmospheric sciences entering the twenty-first century. Washington: National Academy Press, Vol. 364, p. 169.Google Scholar
  58. Nicholls, N., and Alexander, L., 2007. Has the climate become more variable or extreme? Progress 1992–2006. Progress in Physical Geography, 31, 77–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nicholls, R. J., Wong, P. P., Burkett, V. R., Codignotto, J. O., Hay, J. E., McLean, R. F., Ragoonaden, S., and Woodroffe, C. D., 2007. Coastal systems and low-lying areas. In Parry, M. L., Canziani, O. F., Palutikof, J. P., van der Linden, P. J., and Hanson, C. E. (eds.), Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 315–356.Google Scholar
  60. Nicholls, R. J., et al., 2008. Ranking port cities with high exposure and vulnerability to climate extremes: exposure estimates. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, ENV/WKP(2007)1, 62 pp.Google Scholar
  61. Nichols, N., 2001. Atmospheric and climatic hazards: improved monitoring and prediction for disaster mitigation. Natural Hazards, 23(2–3), 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Nigg, J. M., 2000. Predicting earthquakes: science, pseudoscience, and public policy paradox. In Sarewitz, D., Pielke, R. A., Jr., and Byerly, R. (eds.), Prediction: Science Decision Making and the Future of Nature. Washington, DC: Island Press, pp. 135–158.Google Scholar
  63. Nolan, D. S., Rappin, E. D., and Emanuel, K. A., 2007. Tropical cyclogenesis sensitivity to environmental parameters in radiative-convective equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 133(629), 2085–2107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. O’Gorman, P. A., and Schneider, T., 2008. Energy of midlatitude transient eddies in idealized simulations of changed climates. Journal of Climate, 21(22), 5797–5806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Osborn, T. J., and Hulme, M., 1997. Development of a relationship between station and grid-box rainday frequencies for climate model evaluation. Journal of Climate, 10(8), 1885–1908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Pall, P., Allen, M. R., and Stone, D. A., 2007. Testing the Clausius-Clapeyron constraint on changes in extreme precipitation under CO2 warming. Climate Dynamics, 28, 351–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Palmer, W. C., 1965. Meteorological drought. Report 45, US Weather Bureau, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  68. Paton, D., and Johnston, D., 2006. Disaster Resilience: An Integrated Approach. Springfield: Charles C Thomas/Springfield. 6.Google Scholar
  69. Paton, D., Johnston, D., Smith, L., and Millar, M., 2001. Responding to Hazard Effects: Promoting Resilience and Adjustment Adoption. Emergency Management Australia, p. 47Google Scholar
  70. Rahmstorf, S., Cazenave, A., Church, J. A., Hansen, J. E., Keeling, R. F., Parker, D. E., and Somerville, R. C. J., 2007. Recent climate observations compared to projections. Science, 316(5825), 709–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Robine, J. M., Cheung, S. L. K., Le Roy, S., Van Oyen, H., Griffiths, C., Michel, J. P., et al., 2008. Death toll exceeded 70,000 in Europe during the summer of 2003. Comptes Rendus Biologies., 331(2), 171–U5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rodriguez, J, Vos, F, Below, R., and Guha-Sapir, D., 2009. Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2008 – The numbers and trends. Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. http://www.emdat.be
  73. Sapir, D. G., and Vos, F., 2009. Quantifying global environmental change impacts: methods, criteria and definitions for compiling data on hydrometeorological disasters. In Brauch, H. G., et al. (eds.), Coping with Global Environmental Change, Disasters and Security: Threats, Challenges, Vulnerabilities and Risks. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, Vol. 5.Google Scholar
  74. Schipper, L., and Burton, I., 2009. Adaptation to Climate Change: the Earthscan Reader. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  75. Seneviratne, S. I., Corti, T., Davin, E. L., Hirschi, M., Jaeger, E., Lehner, I., Orlowsky, B., and Teuling, A. J., 2010. Investigating soil moisture-climate interactions in a changing climate: a review. Earth Science Reviews, 99(3–4), 125–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Shapiro, M. A., Shukla, J., Brunet, G., Nobre, C., Béland, M., Dole, R., Trenberth, K., Anthes, R., Asrar, G., Barrie, L., Bougeault, P., Brasseur, G., Burridge, D., Busalacchi, A., Caughey, J., Chen, D., Church, J., Enomoto, T., Hoskins, B., Hov, Ø., Laing, A., Le Treut, H., Marotzke, J., McBean, G., Meehl, G., Miller, M., Mills, B., Mitchell, J., Moncrieff, M., Nakazawa, T., Olafsson, H., Palmer, T., Parsons, D., Rogers, D., Simmons, A., Troccoli, A., Toth, Z., Uccellini, L., Velden C., and Wallace, J., 2010. An Earth-system prediction initiative for the 21st century. Bulletin American Meteorological Society, 91, 1377–1388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Simonovic, S. P., 2009. Managing Water Resources: Methods and Tools for a Systems Approach. Paris/London: UNESCO/Earthscan/James & James, p. 576.Google Scholar
  78. Stott, P. A., Gillett, N. P., Hegerl, G. C., Karoly, D., Stone, D., Zhang, X., and Zwiers, F. W., 2009. Detection and attribution of climate change: a regional perspective. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 1, 192–211.Google Scholar
  79. Topics Geo, 2006 – Natural catastrophes 2006, analyses, assessments, positions. Copyright 2007 Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Königinstrasse 107, 80802 München, Germany http://www.Munichre.com.
  80. Topics Geo, 2008. Natural catastrophes 2008, analyses, assessments, positions. Copyright 2009 Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Königinstrasse 107, 80802 München, Germany. http://www.munichre.com.
  81. Trenberth, K. E., Jones, P. D., Ambenje, P., Bojariu, R., Easterling, D., Klein Tank, A., Parker, D., Rahimzadeh, F., Renwick, J. A., Rusticucci, M., Soden B., and Zhai, P., 2007. Observations: surface and Atmospheric climate change. In Solomon, S., Qin, D., Manning, M., Chen, Z., Marquis, M., Averyt, K. B., Tignor M., Miller H. L. (eds.), Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate. Cambridge, UK/New York, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  82. UN General Assembly, 1989. Resolution A/RES/44/236 http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/44/a44r236.htm.
  83. UNISDR, 2005. Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters. World Conference on Disaster Reduction. 2005, p. 6.Google Scholar
  84. UNISDR, 2009a. United Nations international strategy for disaster reduction, terminology on disaster risk reduction http://www.unisdr.org/terminology.
  85. UNISDR, 2009b. Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction. United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, 2009. ISBN/ISSN: 9789211320282, 207 pp http://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/gar/report/index.php?id=1130&pid:34&pih:2.Google Scholar
  86. Wang, X. M., Yang, Y., Dong, Z. B., and Zhang, C. X., 2009. Responses of dune activity and desertification in China to global warming in the twenty-first century. Global and Planetary Change, 67(3–4), 167–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Willett, K. M., Gillett, N. P. Jones, P. D., and Thorne, P. W., 2007. Attribution of observed surface humidity changes to human influence. Nature, 449(7163), 710–712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wing, A. A., Sobel, A. H., and Camargo, S. J., 2007. Relationship between the potential and actual intensities of tropical cyclones on interannual time scales. Geophysical Research Letters, 34, L08810.Google Scholar
  89. World climate research programme: http://wcrp.wmo.int/wcrp-index.html.
  90. WSSD, 2002. World summit on sustainable development. Report of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 Aug– 4 Sept 2002, A/CONF.199/20, See at: www.un.org.
  91. Zhang, X., Wang, J., Zwiers, F. W., and Groisman, P. Y., 2010. The influence of large scale climate variability on winter maximum daily precipitation over North America. Journal of Climate, 23, 2902–2915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Catastrophic Loss ReductionThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada