2019-2023, PI Dann Mitchell, funded by NERC

Emergence of Climate Hazards (EMERGENCE)

Climate hazards are weather and climate ‘extreme events’ that can cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, and environmental resources. Examples include: – The summer heat wave of 2003 in Western Europe, thought to be unprecedented in 500 years, which caused more that 20,000 early deaths, mainly among vulnerable groups in society such as the elderly – South Asian Monsoon monsoon failures and subsequent agricultural losses – agriculture accounts for 18% of GDP, but employs 60% of people in S. Asia (~1 billion people) – The extreme El Nino event of 2015/16 that caused floods, droughts and wildfires globally and drove the fastest annual increase in CO2 on record – A succession of storms reaching southern England in the winter of 2013/2014, causing severe floods and #451 million of insured losses. Such events are, most likely, influenced by global climate change in ways that we do not currently understand. Future climate change may further exacerbate their impacts.

This project assessed the impact of climate change on climate hazards in the past and present and project forward their changes into the future. EMERGENCE used information from state-of-the-art climate models, including from models with unprecedented fine detail. It used cutting edge observations in order to constrain climate model predictions using changes already observed, drawing on new and improved analysis techniques (including event attribution, machine learning and feature tracking) that were not available or not widely applied during previous assessments of climate hazards from older models. The hazards addressed were: extreme heat stress events, tropical deluges and droughts, and storms with their associated extreme winds and rainfall. The team assembled, included a number of leading climate science project partners from the Met Office who have a strong track record in IPCC and were ideally placed to provide this input and to further strengthen the profile of UK climate science in the international arena.