Climate Panel Charts Extreme Weather in a Warming World

The panel reinforces conclusions that human-driven global warming is intensifying heat waves and heavy rains now, with much more in the offing.

This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Dot Earth. View original post. November 18, 2011 By ANDREW C. REVKIN

Can Extreme Climate Confusion be Avoided? Vulnerable countries press for climate aid as scientists summarize the complex forces shaping climate impacts. This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Dot Earth. View original post. November 14, 2011

Study Finds Limited Sensitivity of Climate to CO2. New work examining past cool spells finds a limit to how much added CO2 can heat the planet. This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Dot Earth. View original post. November 25, 2011

Laying the blame for extreme weather. Floods, tornadoes, droughts and wildfires: They are all weather-related, but blaming the latest meteorological disaster on climate change has always been a tricky matter that climate scientists have been shy to do. After all, how can you point to a specific and local event, such as a tornado or dry spell, and say it is caused by something as long-term and huge as global warming? This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at ScienceDaily: Natural Disaster News. View original post. October 11, 2011

Social media poised to drive disaster preparedness and response. Social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare may be an important key to improving the public health system's ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, according to a new article. This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at ScienceDaily: Natural Disaster News. View original post. July 27, 2011

Dr. Uddin's note: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed by the United Nations and World Meteorological Organization. Its forthcoming report cautions of all weather extremes triggered by climate change that kill and cause massive damage.

The panel experts and some scientists speculate that all weather related disasters are being caused by the climate change and others dispute these claims. Moreover, it is a convenient political topic where recent flood disasters in several countries have been blamed on green house gases (GHG) and global warming resulting in climate changes. The IPCC folks indirectly and people in developing countries directly blame western and industrialized countries for starting the global warming which are causing flood disasters.

Extreme weather events are nothing new. These have been experienced many times during the last 100 years and beyond. I have discussed this issue and increased frequency of extreme weather disasters such as floods in my previous posts. Irrespective of the validity of GHG emission as the primary climate change mechanism causing extreme weather events, most people will agree with me that:
  • Weather related disasters especially flood hazards are causing more loss of human lives and higher economic costs than other natural disasters.
  • Most world population now lives in cities; the numbers are high in western countries (75 - 80%) but alarmingly increasing from current 50% in other countries due to migration of rural population to urban areas. In Brazil about 80% population now lives in cities.
  • Disaster risk and vulnerability in coastal areas and along rivers are high due to large number of communities living in these areas. Densely populated areas are particularly at risk.
  • Torrential rainfall in shorter periods and impervious surfaces due to mostly built environment in cities cause disastrous flash floods and damages to bridges, roads, and communities.
Most public works officials, disaster response agencies, and infrastructure engineers will also agree with me that:
  • The essential lifeline infrastructure (roads, bridges, utilities, homes, businesses, industries) are not designed for these extreme flood disasters.
  • There is an urgent need to assess the vulnerability of these infrastructure assets to floods and other extreme weather disasters. The actual risk will depend upon local terrain and population density conditions.
  • A comprehensive framework is required involving all public works, transportation, and disaster response agencies to protect infrastructure assets in their region (city by city) from the extreme natural disasters especially floods instead of the current dependence on response and recovery efforts once the disaster strikes.
As I said in my earlier post on 2011 Hurricane Irene disaster in the U.S. that no government agency is charged to protect nation’s lifeline infrastructure against natural disasters. I posed the following two questions in that post:

Question 1: Is there an office in the U.S. executive branch looking at overall priorities for infrastructure funding to protect from natural disasters?

Question 2: Have the federal agencies and the U.S. Congress learnt the important lesson to protect key lifeline infrastructure from hurricane and flood disasters instead of simply funding reconstruction when there are catastrophic failures?

Disaster risk reduction will require all levels of government efforts to protect infrastructure and realize community preparedness. These efforts need to be at high priority for all levels of government and non-government emergency management agencies. The role of social media and online volunteer technologies will be important in future to encourage communities helping communities. UVision's VolunteerACT is such a web based technology.

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