Extreme events: past, present and future — ASN Events

Extreme events: past, present and future (10369)

Lisa Alexander 1
  1. University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, Australia

In 1990 and 1992 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its first assessment of climate change and its supplement, did not consider whether extreme weather events had increased in frequency and/or intensity globally, because data were too sparse to make this a worthwhile exercise. Over the past 20 years, the analysis of climate extremes has had a much more prominent role in IPCC assessments, culminating in the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) in 2012 and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report in 2013. However some gaps still remain both in terms of our knowledge and in terms of the data (observed and modelled) that are required to adequately assess extremes.

To try and address some of these gaps numerous international coordination efforts have ensued. In this presentation I will outline some of those efforts and how they have helped to formulate the conclusions from the recent IPCC assessments in relation to climate extremes. The importance of data quality and consistency is also addressed as underpinning any analysis of climate extremes along with robust statistical analysis.

Finally I will describe the current state of the monitoring, understanding and physical modelling of the characteristics of climatic extremes including projected changes, focusing both on the great progress that has taken place in the last couple of decades and in the challenges that still lie ahead.