Global warming entails more intense precipitation, more and longer heat waves and fewer extremely cold days and nights. In many regions we can observe increasing summer dryness. Severe droughts entail extreme wildfires, which in turn release huge amounts of carbon stored in forest grounds.
Long and severe droughts are in many cases interrupted by extreme precipitation and floods. Flood damage has increased substantially the last decades
The physics behind is fairly easy: a warmer global climate means a warmer troposphere. A warmer troposphere means more evaporation from land and sea. The warmer air can hold more water vapor before it condenses to rain.
Warmer troposphere and oceans in polar regions lead to more icebergs floating around but also polar sea ice cover melting combined with more precipitation usually in the form of snow; and more open seas for longer periods. This disturbs cloud patterns, jetstreams and the polar vortex with its circumpolar winds, in turn impacting on weather patterns in the temperate and polar zones.
Low-lying coastal zones are particularly vulnerable through sea-level rise and changes in wave climate and stronger storms.
Studies suggest higher precipitation intensity for Northern Europe and increased dry-spell lengths for Southern Europe. High intensity and extreme precipitation are expected to become more frequent within the next 70 years. (Norwegian Meteorological Institute (2013) Extreme Weather Events in Europe: preparing for climate change adaptation)
- Was that extreme weather event influenced by climate change? (2016)
- Royal Society (2014) Resilience to extreme weather
- Royal Society: How does climate change affect the strength and frequency of floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes?
- Nature (2016) Global warming already driving increases in rainfall extremes
- NOAA (2010) Atlantic’s Hurricane Heat Potential
- The Age (2013) Extreme weather means extreme planning
- Ecowatch (2016) 10 Extreme Weather Events in 2015 That Sound the Alarm on Climate Chaos
- Ecowatch (2016) Scientists Link Extreme Weather to Climate Change
- Are weather patterns changing because the Arctic is becoming warmer? (Munich re 2015)
- New Scientist (2016) Canada’s huge wildfires may release carbon locked in permafrost
- NYT (2016) Global Warming Cited as Wildfires Increase in Fragile Boreal Forest
- Climate Central (2016) Warming Brings Increasing Flood Risk And Heavier Rain
- Hansen, J. (2016) Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms Video Abstract
- Hansen, J. (2016) Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: The Threat of Irreparable Harm – Transcript
- Climate Change + Population Growth + Economic Expansion = More Severe Flooding
- ThinkHazard! Identify natural hazards in your project area
and understand how to reduce their impact
- Natural Disasters Already Cost $40 Billion A Year. It Could Get A Lot Worse. (May, 2016)
- NASA: Applied Remote Sensing Training (ARSET)
- We are living in the planet’s most unusually warm period in modern history (May 2016)
- Dietz, S. & Stern, M. (2014) Endogenous growth, convexity of damages and climate risk (Grantham work paper)
- UK poorly prepared for climate change impacts, government advisers warn
- Make fossil fuel industry pay for the real costs
- How Prepared Is Your State to Deal With Extreme Weather?
- Soaring Temperatures Will Make It Too Hot to Work, UN Warns (July 2016) (Bloomberg)
- National Academic Press (2016) Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change (Downloadable book)
- Yup, It’s Another Record-Hot Month for Earth (Aug 2016)
It is important to remember that global warming means more evaporation from the oceans to the air. More moisture in the air means more precipitation. As long as the temperature remains below 0 ° C, this precipitation will be coming as snow. In North Western Europe and the North East of the USA, this means global warming causes more rain and more heavy, wet, potentially very damaging snowfalls, but gradually shorter winters.
Periods of heavy snow must be expected in the Nordic countries and parts of North America for several years ahead. The winter periods will become more erratic, with unusual mild periods in between cold periods. There will be more warm records than cold records. More icy roads for longer periods are likely.
American Meteorological Society (2016) Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective
Making sense of future climate (CICERO, Jan 2017)
Heatwaves, droughts and wildfires
- Put politics aside to fight hunger (Jan 2017)
- 82,000 Evacuated as ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Wildfire Shocks California (Aug 2016)
- India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ (BBC, April 2016)
- Deadly heat wave is shattering all-time records in Southeast Asia and India (May 2016)
- India records its hottest day ever as temperature hits 51C (that’s 123.8F) (May 2016)
- Heat waves in Africa every year from 2040?
- Record-Breaking Heat Wave Scorches Southwest (June 2016)
- USA swelters through hottest summer nights in 121 years (Sept 2016)
- Western USA faces an explosion of wildfires. There is a “ brazen deception of the oil lobby and their Trump-inspired allies who deny science and fight every reasonable effort to curb global warming” (Jerry Brown, California’s governor, Sep 2016).
- En trente ans, le réchauffement climatique a doublé les feux de forêt aux Etats-Unis
- NASA: Megadrought Lasting Decades Is 99% Certain in American Southwest
- Fleeing the Coast Before the Storm, Only to Be Trapped Inland (NYT Oct 2016)
- Hurricane Matthew’s Toll Rises; Flooding Strands 1,500 in North Carolina (NYT Oct 2016)
- Record-Breaking Drought and Wildfires Plaque Southeast (Nov 2016)
- Bolivia declares state of emergency due to drought, water shortage (Nov 2016)
- This Country (Bolivia) Is Running Out of Water Amid Historic Drought (Nov 2016)
- Madagascar drought: catastrophe looms as 850,000 go hungry, says UN (Nov 2016)
- Brutal Heat Waves Crush Eastern Australia (Jan 2017)
- U.N. warns of famine risk in Somalia amid worsening drought (Jan 2017)
- ‘Irreversible’ Climate Change Rocks Australia: Report. This should serve as a warning to other nations, particularly ones that rely on energy derived from coal. (March 2017)
- Climate Change Making Kenya’s Droughts More Severe (March 2017)
- New Evidence Confirms Risk That Mideast May Become Uninhabitable (March 2017)
- Temperatures in the Southwest Are So Hot Airlines Are Canceling Flights
Heat waves caused by climate change are growing hotter and deadlier (June 2017)
- Storm Angus floodwater inundates homes in Manchester – video report (Nov 2016)
- Texas flooding kills woman, 4 grandchildren (May 2016)
- Kenya flooding: At least 10 dead in building collapse (BBC, May 2016)
- Sri Lanka – Deadly Floods and Landslides After 355mm of Rain in 24 Hours (May 2016)
- Historic Flooding Ongoing as Houston Records Its Rainiest Day Ever—Before Noon (April 2016)
- France floods: third person dies as river levels begin to fall (June 2016)
- Flooding Kills Dozens In Europe And Texas, Displaces Thousands More
- Record-breaking heavy rainfall events increased under global warming (June 2016)
- Climate-change related flooding is projected to double in Europe by 2050.(June 2016)
- Floodlist (Worldwide)
- In Australia, Flooding Is Already on the Rise
- World weather: 2016’s early record heat gives way to heavy rains (Aug 2016)
- Deadly Maryland flood part of clear global warming-related pattern in extreme rainfall events (Aug 2016)
- Intense Louisiana Rains Another Example of What’s in Store With Global Warming (Aug 2016)
- NOAA: Climate Change Fueled Deadly Louisiana Flooding (Sept 2016)
- Flooding in the South Looks a Lot Like Climate Change (NYT, Aug 2016)
- Welcome to Carlisle, the British City With a Climate Change Bull’s-Eye (NYT Sept 2016)
- Climate: Africa’s Human Existence Is at Severe Risk
- Climate Change Dries Up Nicaragua
- Climate Change (I) Will the Middle East Become ‘Uninhabitable’?
- Climate Change Could Make Parts of Middle East and North Africa ‘Uninhabitable’
- Climate Change and the Middle East (II) No Water in the Kingdom of the Two Seas—Nor Elsewhere
- Flooding hits central Vietnam ahead of Typhoon Sarika (Oct 2016)
- Vietnam – Deadly Floods Strike Central Region for Third Time in 8 Weeks (Dec 2016)
- Climate Change Is Raising Flood Risk in the Northern U.S. Shifting rainfall patterns and the amount of water in the ground are likely causes for the heightened risk (Scientific American, Jan 2017)
- Yes, Some Extreme Weather Can Be Blamed on Climate Change A leading scientist explains that improved computing and statistics can tie extreme events to global warming (Scientific American, Jan 2017)
- ‘Exceptional’ number of severe floods propel natural disasters losses to four-year high (Jan 2017)
- Climate Change is a subject that concerns us all (Munich re)
- Natural catastrophe losses at their highest for four years (Munich re Jan 2017)
- San Francisco Receives More Rain in First Eight Days of January Than All of 2013 (Jan 2017)
- Death toll from landslides and floods rises to 122 (Sri Lanka, May 2017)
- The day after withdrawing from Paris, Trump declared a flooding disaster in Missouri (June 2017)
- New York Times (2016). Living in China´s Expanding Deserts
- Feng, Q. et al. (2015). What Has Caused Desertification in China?
- Luedi, J. (2016). China’s growing deserts a major political risk. Global Risk Insights,
- Tao, W. (2016). Desertification and Land Degradation in China. International Soil and Water Conservation Research
- The Telegraph. (2014). ‘Water war’ in Brazil as Rio’s supply threatened
- Conflict on the Nile
- Battered by Storms, Sri Lanka Rethinks Food Security (June 2016)
- Photos: Typhoon Meranti leaves a trail of destruction in Taiwan and makes landfall on mainland China (Sept 2016)
- Warmed Oceans Fuel Massive Hurricane Matthew as It Bears Down on Florida After Flattening Parts of Haiti and Cuba (Oct 2016)
- Why We Love Storms. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense. For some, that’s just fine.
- Siberian air Will Blow to U.S. as Polar Vortex Breaks Down & Jet Stream Crosses North Pole (Dec 2016)
- Does global warming mean more or less snow?
- Millions Under Blizzard Warning: Is It Climate Connected? (March 2017)
- At $4.9 billion, 2016 broke record for damage caused by natural disasters, insurers report
Record set for insurable damage caused by natural disasters such as wildfires, floods and ice storms, Insurance Bureau of Canada says (Jan 2017).
- Munich re: NAT CATS 2014: What’s going on with the weather?
- Swiss Re adopts climate-related financial disclosure recommendations (Dec 2016)
- Swiss re: Preliminary sigma estimates: Total losses from disaster events rise to USD 158 billion in 2016 (Dec 2016)
- 2016: Natural catastrophe losses at their highest for four years (Munich re Jan 2017)
NASA: Quiz weather extremes
|Home||Chapter 3||3. Impacts|
|3.1 More water vapor|
|3.2 Sea level rise|
|3.3 Polar sea ice|
|3.4 Air pollution|
|3.7 Extreme weather|
|3.9 Refugees and conflicts|
|3.11 Tipping points|
|Chapter 4||4. Ecosystems|