Stronger storms ahead, claims Air Worldwide report

30-06-2017

A new report by catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide claims that the frequency and intensity of the most “strong to extreme” storms are expected to increase.

The report, entitled “Climate Change Impacts on Extreme Weather”, has projections that also claims that the earth is likely to see an increase in the frequency and intensity of most of the other weather phenomena including severe thunderstorms, wildfires, inland floods and coastal floods.

The report examines climate change and its effects on atmospheric perils of relevance to catastrophe modeling and the insurance industry.

“Many in the insurance world are paying increased attention to climate change in light of reports of increasing variability of atmospheric perils such as windstorms and floods,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, assistant vice president and director of meteorology at AIR Worldwide.

“Meanwhile, regulators and rating agencies are beginning to ask companies to disclose how they are incorporating climate risk into their decision-making processes. As a result, clients have asked AIR to keep them apprised of the current state of the science regarding climate change impacts on extreme weather.”

The report, which was co-authored by Dr. Sousounis and Dr. Christopher Little from AIR sister company Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER), is broken down into three main sections. Section One summarises key elements of climate and climate change and its relevance for weather extremes. Section Two provides a synthesis of the latest scientific knowledge about how specific weather extremes may be affected by climate change, especially toward the end of the 21st century. Section Three identifies some of the complications and uncertainties surrounding the results and suggests a possible path forward for the developers and users of catastrophe models.

Key findings from the report include - the overall number of tropical cyclones and extratropical cyclones is likely to decrease, but the frequency and intensity of the most “strong to extreme” storms (such as tropical cyclones that are Saffir Simpson Scale Categories 4 and 5) are expected to increase.

Projections reveal that the earth is likely to see an increase in the frequency and intensity of most of the other weather phenomena reviewed (severe thunderstorms, wildfires, inland floods, coastal floods).

The impact of climate change is most evident for inland and coastal floods, both of which will overall see more frequent and more intense floods.

However, there is much greater uncertainty around how climate change will affect “strong to extreme” events (50- to 250-year return period) compared to the more common “weak-to-moderate events” (2- to 10-year return period) because existing historical data is insufficient and numerical climate models still do not simulate the most extreme events very well.

AIR Worldwide, Weather, Climate, Report, Global

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