Climate Change Is Making Extreme Weather Events More Frequent, Say Scientists

Community preparedness builds resilience

Two words, preparedness and resilience, have gained interest in recent years. They are closely related but seldom identified as complementary.

Preparedness refers to being ready when disruption to normal life occurs. Disruptions and disasters can be natural or human-caused, likely both, such as floods, fires, power failure and earthquakes. Other disasters can include chemical spills, draught, terrorism, dam failure, social/economic malfunction and more.

Climate change is a disruption wild card. 

Mainstream preparedness can include stashing food and water at home and having a go bag for emergency exit for self or family. Mutual assistance plans with neighbors can deepen the effectiveness of preparedness by opening up many new opportunities to make common cause with others…

Climate Change Is Making Extreme Weather Events More Frequent, Say Scientists

The United Nations calculated that extreme weather events resulted in 15,000 deaths and resulted in economic losses of US $170 billion in 2020.

Storms, floods, and droughts can be catastrophic for people and the environment, but are these events on the rise? We asked 4 experts in climate science ‘Are extreme weather events becoming more frequent globally?’, here is what we found.

What are extreme weather events?

Extreme weather means weather events that are rare for the place and time that they are in, such as a snowstorm in Hawaii. It can also mean weather that strongly impacts day-to-day life, such as severe storms and droughts.

Blizzards, floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornados, and heatwaves are extreme weather events. To understand if extreme weather events are changing, experts say it varies depending on the type of weather event.

Dr Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, an expert in climate science from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, says, “Some types of weather events are becoming more extreme, such as heatwaves or intense precipitation. Others are becoming less extreme, such as cold waves. And many fall in between: in some areas, drought becomes more extreme, in others less so…

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