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FEATURE: New guidance on climate extremes for water, agriculture, health and environmental professionals

Also posted in Spanish

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) today launches a four-part series, Managing Climate Extremes and Disasters: Lessons from the IPCC SREX, written for professionals in the water, agricultureCultivation of the ground and harvesting of crops and handling of livestock, the primary function is the provision of food and feed., health and ecosystemA system of living organisms interacting with each other and their physical environment. The boundaries of what could be called an ecosystem are somewhat arbitrary, depending on the focus of interest or study. Thus, the extent of an ecosystem may range from very small spatial scales to, ... conservation sectors.

The CDKN guides highlight the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (known as ‘SREX’) for each of these sectors, and discuss the implications for decision-making.

SREX found that disaster losses from extreme weather eventsExtreme weather describes weather phenomena that are at the extremes of the historical distribution, especially severe or unseasonal weather. (UKCIP) will increase in the coming decades as the world’s population grows and more and more people put themselves in harm’s way. From mid-century onwards, manmade climate change will make an increasing contribution to disaster risk.

Different kinds of extreme weatherWeather refers to the state of the atmosphere with regard to temperature, cloudiness, rainfall, wind, and other meteorological conditions. (UKCIP) events – ranging from high temperatures to heavy rainfallRain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated—that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It ... – are likely to become more common by the end of the 21st century in most regions, and are more likely to be caused by climate change.

Decision-makers tasked with planning for food securityFood security is a condition related to the ongoing availability of food. Concerns over food security have existed throughout history. There is evidence of granaries being in use over 10,000 years ago, with central authorities in civilizations including Ancient China and Ancient Egypt being ... and agriculture production, the provision of fresh water to growing populations, public healthThe health status of millions of people is projected to be affected through, for example, increases in malnutrition; increased deaths, diseases and injury due to extreme weather events; increased burden of diarrhoeal diseases; increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher ... services, and a healthy natural environment, all stand to benefit from this comprehensive set of scientific findings.

The SREX report itself was compiled over two and a half years, involving 220 expert authors, 19 review editors and a four-day approval process by government representatives from around the world. The final 594 page report and its 20 page summary represent the ‘state of the art’ of scientific knowledge about climate extremes and disasters.

SREX should be a reference guide for policy-makers in all sectors as it sends a stark wake-up call about the expectation for more frequent and severe climate extremes and disasters this century,” said Dr Tom Mitchell of Overseas Development Institute, CDKN’s technical lead for the project and a co-author of the IPCC SREX report.

CDKN has gauged a real appetite among professionals from all sectors, and especially those concerned with natural resources management and human healthThe health status of millions of people is projected to be affected through, for example, increases in malnutrition; increased deaths, diseases and injury due to extreme weather events; increased burden of diarrhoeal diseases; increased frequency of cardio-respiratory diseases due to higher ..., to get to grips with the messages from SREX and apply the findings to their work. We hope these CDKN Guides will make that job easier, by pulling out relevant findings by sector and making them more accessible.”

CDKN’s Managing Climate Extremes and Disasters: Lessons from the IPCC SREX Reports for the agriculture, health and water sectors and for ecosystem management can now be downloaded here:

Managing climate extremes and disasters in the water sector
Managing climate extremes and disasters in the agricultural sector
Managing climate extremes and disasters in the health sector
Managing climate extremes and disasters for ecosystems

They join the existing CDKN Guides to SREX for Asia, Africa and Latin American and Caribbean regions, which are available at www.cdkn.org/srex and have been translated into multiple languages.

The full IPCC SREX report and policy-makers summary is available on the IPCC’s SREX website.

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