Session 3: Impacts of Weather and Climate-Related Extremes
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Session 3: Impacts of Weather and Climate-Related Extremes Social and Economic Impacts. José A. Marengo Earth System Sciences Center- CCST National Institute for Space Research – INPE Sâo Paulo, Brazil. IPCC Working Group II Scoping Meeting: Possible Special Report on

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José A. Marengo Earth System Sciences Center- CCST National Institute for Space Research – INPE

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Session 3: Impacts of Weather and Climate-Related Extremes

Social and Economic Impacts

José A. Marengo

Earth System Sciences Center- CCST

National Institute for Space Research – INPE

Sâo Paulo, Brazil

IPCC Working Group II Scoping Meeting:

Possible Special Report on

“Extreme Events and Disasters: Managing the Risks”

Oslo, Norway • 23-26 March 2009

EMDAT - The International Emergency Disasters Database (


Climate change: processes, characteristics and


Variability and changes in extremes

  • Where extreme weather events become more intense and/or more frequenteconomic and social costs of those events will increase,

  • In drier areasclimate change is expected to lead to salinisation and desertification of agricultural lands (e.g In Latin America, semi-arid and arid areas)

  • Northeast Brazil may suffer a decrease of water resources due to climate change, with increasing precipitation variability with more dry spells and drought, and also a decrease in the groundwater recharge, and the rapid increase of population and water demand will exacerbate vulnerability.

Climate-related disasters (or not?)

  • There is evidence from various sources that indeed suggests that climate-related disasters are increasing in frequency at the global scale

  • By climate-related disaster, we mean a detrimental outcome of a climatic event with respect to a human system or a system on which humans directly depend.

  • Such a disaster is precipitated by the climatic event in question (for example an extreme precipitation event, windstorm, or drought), but its nature and severity is mediated by a variety of non-climatic factors and processes that serve to dampen or amplify the primary impacts of the triggering event.

  • Changes in the frequency of climate-related disasters are therefore not necessarily caused by meteorological changes, and are not necessarily attributable to global climate change.


Tebaldi et al (2007)


Changes in R10 (number of days with rainfall above 10 mm) and CDD (Consecutive dry days) indices for IPCC AR4 A1B, 2080–2099 relative to 1980–1999.

Battisti et al (2009)



More rain


Less rain

El Niño impacts in South America

More rain


Less rain

High temp

More rain

Risk of frost in the Northern Andes

Glacier retreat in the Central Andes

Convergence of climatic, poverty and agrodiversity vulnerabilities in Peru

Drought of Amazonia 2005:

Relationship between July-October anomalies in rainfall in Western

Amazonia and in the Index of the north-south SST gradient across the tropical Atlantic ocean (Cox et al. 2007)

Observations for the period 1901-2002

Model output from the HadCMLC GCM simulation including aerosols is shown (1901-2002

Mean and STDV of the


Simulation of the 21st century (2003-2100) using the HadCMLC.

Mean and STDV estimated values for the 2005 Amazon drought

A 2005 drought caused widespread devastation across the Amazon basin. Cox et al. (2008) estimates that by 2025 a drought on this scale could happen every other year and by 2060 a drought could occur in nine out of every ten years.

a.k.a. The Pentagon Report

Weather and climate extremes

climate refugees

Increase in the frequency of extreme rainfall events for 2071-2100 relative to 1961-90 in western Amazonia and southern Brazil-Northern ArgentinaIncrease in the frequency of consecutive dry days in eastern Amazonia, Northeast Brazil west central Brazil

A2-CDD-Consecutive dry days

A2-R10-days com rainfall above 10 mm

Impacts and consequences

  • Floodshuge economical disasters both for not insured people/companies, under insured people/companies and insurance companies, numbers of human lives.

  • In Southern Brazil, heavy rainfall affected Santa Catarina State in November 2008 causing severe flooding and deadly mudslides, which affected 1.5 million people and resulted in 120 casualties and left 69,000 people homeless. It was reported that most of the fatalities were caused by mudslides that swept away homes and business. Estimated cost so far US$ 350 million.

  • Drought cut off entire cities from their current by rain feed water sources, causing major economical damage. Water shortages will lead to severe societal turbulence and drifting of the populations of complete regions.

Impacts and consequences

  • Rainfall deficits during summer and fall 2001 resulted in a significant reduction in river flow throughout central Brazil, thereby reducing the capacity to produce hydroelectric power in these areas (90% of Brazil´s energy is from hydroelectric sources).

  • In 2005, large sections of SW Amazônia experienced one of the most intense droughts of the last hundred years. For the Acre State, the Defesa Civil estimated a lost of about US$ 87 million due to the fires only, about 10% of the State´s GDP. As in 2001, the total cost of these droughts is not known

  • The drought that affects northern Argentina since 2008 determined a reduction in the agricultural production, and together with the international price reductions determined a projection of reduction of about 30% in exportation, of about US$ 8-9 billion for 2009.

Cumulative Climate Change Index CCI

Human Development Index (HDI) for Brazil-2000

Human Development Index (HDI)-Income

Human Development Index (HDI)-Education

Sustainable development-human development-vulnerability to climate change

  • The sustainability of development in South America is strongly linked to the capacity of responding to the challenges and opportunities associated with climate change. The economy is strongly based on climate-dependent natural resources.

  • Using the Human Development Index (HDI) as indicator, we see that the regions with lowest HDI are in the tropical region such as Amazonia and Northeast Brazil

  • The Cumulative Climate Change Index CCI suggests that tropical South America exhibits the highest CCI, indicating regions where climate change would be most intense.

  • The Amazon region and Northeast Brazil are the regions with highest CCI and also the regions with lowest HDI, suggesting that impacts of climate change would be strongest on poor regions in the tropics.

  • Adaptive capacity

  • Biophysical vulnerability

  • Soil degradation and cover

  • Groundwater availability

  • Climate extremes

  • Social vulnerability

  • Agricultural workers and labourers

  • Literacy

  • Gender discrimination

  • Child mortality and fertility

  • Education and income

  • Technological vulnerability

  • Irrigation

  • Infrastructure




Climate sensitivity (rain dependence and dryness)

Trade sensitivity (port distance and import-sensitive crops)



Elements of vulnerability profiles to climate related disasters

A conceptual framework for risk

  • Research into the human dimensions of climate change tends

  • to concentrate on the concept of vulnerability, although various

  • definitions of vulnerability exist. These definitions essentially fall

  • into two categories:

    • A formulation that views vulnerability as a function of climate hazard, the exposure of a system or population to that hazard, and the sensitivity of the system or population to the impacts of the hazard. In this context hazard is defined purely in physical terms, for example absolute values of or anomalies in meteorological or climatic variables such as rainfall, temperature, or wind speed.

    • A formulation that views vulnerability as a function purely of the internal properties of a system, for example the set of social, economic, political and environmental factors that mediate the impacts of any given hazard for a particular system.

Social and economical aspects of climate change: Need for integrated assessments and adaptation measures

  • Not only places, but also persons have distinct vulnerabilities. Different social groups are exposed to different hazards of climate change and with different resources to respond to them.

  • It is therefore necessary to identify these groups, locate them in the urban space and describe them socially and demographically for more efficient public policy.

  • There is a need for projects intended to integrate the projections of climate alterations and socio-economic models, such that an integrated analysis of the economic impacts of these phenomena can be produced.

  • On the basis of that, adaptation and mitigation policies may be proposed and implemented.

Countries must prepare for possible impacts of climate change and extremes for IVA assessments

  • Improve regional and global climate models, including historical trend analyses

  • Assemble comprehensive integrated models of climate change impacts.

  • Create vulnerability metrics to understand country’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.

  • Prepare and test adaptive responses to address and prepare for inevitable climate driven events such as massive migration and food and water supply shortages.

  • Explore local implications of climate change and extremes in urban and rural areas, and develop estimates economical damages. Risk management can be applied in all of these contexts.

  • Future sustainable development plans should include adaptation strategies to enhance the integration of climate change into development policies.

Developing adaptation efforts (Interaction of GT1 and 2 of IPCC)

  • Effective adaptation strategies require understanding of regional / local dimensions of vulnerability

  • Climate change does not occur in isolation – multiple stresses (non climatic)

  • Domestic policies can enhance or constrain society´ ability to adapt to climate change

  • Adapting to climate variability and climate change

  • Adaptation and sustainable development policies

  • Take advantage of the work of the UN-Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) on the indicators of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, as official national indicators

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