Public Lecture

Extreme Weather: Charting a Future with Climate and People

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Claudia Tebaldi | Presenter
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Brian O'Neill | Presenter
Joint Global Change Research Institute
August 6, 2013

Our society’s vulnerability to extreme weather events will be determined by changes in both the climate — for example, more frequent and more severe heat waves, heavier precipitation events — and in society — for example, how much larger the world population will be and where it will live, how income will be distributed, what fraction of the population will live in urban rather than rural areas.

This talk presented projections of change to climate and population and highlighted how these trends interact to result in potential societal vulnerabilities. Focusing on the example of coastal flood risks, the speakers illustrated how future sea level rise may change the statistics of storm surges along US coasts. They showed how the geographic distribution of US population may change in the coming decades, affecting the numbers of people exposed to risks of flooding. Other examples of the interaction between expected demographic changes and expected changes in climate extremes were discussed, especially in relation to extreme heat events and population concentration.