Volume 57 (2) — April 2008

Adapting to climate variability and change

Feature articles



Key IPCC conclusions on climate change impacts and adaptations

The IPCC Fourth Assessment on Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability addressed three main issues: impacts of climate change which are observable now; future effects of climate change on different sectors and regions; and responses to such effects. The assessment included 12 key messages, which are summarized here.



Regionalization of climate change information for impact assessment and adaptation

It is clear by now that the issue of anthropogenic climate change and its impact on human societies and natural ecosystems is among the most important environmental and scientific challenges of this century. The development of suitable policies to adapt to climate change and to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations below the “danger” threshold hinges upon the availability of climate information at scales from regional to country and even local level.



Adapting to climate variability and change: the Climate Outlook Forum process

Weather and climate extremes are associated with loss of life, destruction of property and many other socio-economic miseries worldwide. They threaten livelihoods and the very survival of humankind. The vulnerability of societies seems to be increasing year after year in many developing countries, especially in Africa.



The adaptation imperative: is climate science ready?

The Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that “most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely” human-induced. This assessment is the result of many decades of work by the world scientific community.



Monitoring the Earth’s climate

Monitoring changes in the Earth’s climate is based on decades and centuries of atmospheric and ocean observations. Included among these are century-long instrumental measurements of surface temperature and precipitation and records of daily data which are useful in understanding changes in the frequency and severity of extremes such as heavy precipitation events, drought and heat waves.



Agrometeorological services under a changing climate: old wine in new bags

All agrometeorological and agroclimatological information that can be directly applied to try to improve and/or protect the livelihood of farmers in agricultural production may be considered to belong to agrometeorological services. This improvement/protection applies to yield quantity and quality and income, while safeguarding the agricultural resource base from degradation

damaged house

Disaster risk reduction under current and changing climate conditions

Evidence from around the world indicates that the costs of disasters, particularly weather-related disasters, are increasing. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the annual direct losses from all natural catastrophes rose from US$ 3.9 billion to at least US$ 40 billion at the 1999 dollar rate, while population grew only by 2.4-fold. In reality, these losses from predominantly weather- and water-related disasters are larger by a factor of two, when losses from less severe events are included.

Other feature articles are to be found in MeteoWorld.

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