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New IPCC Special Report on Extreme Weather Events

March 28, 2012; 4:48 PM

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has just released a new full report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX).

In the report, the IPCC, which is made up of 220 authors from 62 countries, found evidence that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and heavy precipitation in the past 50 years.

Some of the important points from the IPCC press release.

--Medium confidence in an observed increase in the length or number of warm spells or heat waves in many regions of the globe.

--It is very likely that average sea level rise will contribute to upward trends in extreme sea levels in extreme coastal high water levels.

--Likely increase in frequency of heavy precipitation events or increase in proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls over many areas of the globe, in particular in the high latitudes and tropical regions, and in winter in the northern mid-latitudes.

--Medium confidence in projected increase in duration and intensity of droughts in some regions of the world, including southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, central Europe, central North America, Central America and Mexico, northeast Brazil, and southern Africa.

--It is virtually certain that increases in the frequency of warm daily temperature extremes and decreases in cold extremes will occur throughout the 21st century on a global scale. It is very likely-90 per cent to 100 per cent probability-that heat waves will increase in length, frequency, and/or intensity over most land areas.

--Economic losses from weather- and climate-related disasters vary from year to year and place to place, but overall have increased (high confidence).

Nice short video of the report, which is titled "In Harm's Way" via YouTube.

Here is the link to the full nearly 600 page report.


Defining terms from the IPCC....

This report characterizes the confidence in the validity of findings in relative terms (such as "low,"

"medium," and "high"), based on the assessment of underlying scientific evidence and agreement. The report uses common terms to quantify the probability of various outcomes, because without precise definitions, these terms could mean different things to different people. So when we say.......

Virtually certain we mean 99-100% probability

Very likely we mean 90-100% probability

Likely we mean 66-100% probability

About as likely as not we mean 33 to 66% probability

Unlikely we mean 0-33% probability

Very unlikely we mean 0-10% probability

Exceptionally unlikely we mean 0-1% probability

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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