METEO 469
From Meteorology to Mitigation: Understanding Global Warming

Severe Weather Impacts

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We have already seen that climate change is likely to increase the frequency and severity of many types of severe weather impacts, including heat waves, intense precipitation events, and more intense hurricanes.

In North America, we have already seen increased damages likely related to these increases. Among these is the rise in tropical storm-related damages (though there is some debate about precisely how much of a role has been played by the increase in storm intensity, and how much of a role has been played by increases in coastal infrastructure, real estate values, etc.). We have also seen an increase in damages due to increases in "fire weather", i.e., meteorological conditions such as warm and dry weather, which favor destructive wildfires.

Pattern of Temperature change in N. America in recent decades. The greatest warming is found in the northwest, but all regions have warmed.
Figure 9.15: Pattern of temperature change over North America in recent decades.
Credit: Mann & Kump, Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, 2nd Edition
© 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.
Trends in North America impacted by rising temperatures.
Figure 9.16: Severe Weather-Related Damages in North America.
Credit: Mann & Kump, Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, 2nd Edition
© 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.

We saw earlier in this lesson that shifting water resources represent a potential climate change threat. In Europe, for example, both extreme drought and flooding due to intense rainfall are likely to incur damages. More powerful winter storms are likely to impact the economies of both Europe and North America (see, e.g., this news article discussing the impact of especially severe winter storms during 2011 winter on air travel in North American and Europe).

Selected Potential Climate Change Impacts in Europe.
Figure 9.17: Severe Weather-Related Damages in Europe.
Credit: Mann & Kump, Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change, 2nd Edition
© 2015 Pearson Education, Inc.