May 2008

Climatic Change

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Various models on climate and climate change tend to identify a linear relationship between climate change events and the hazards created because of the same.

Understanding climate change

Considerable progress has been made in the understanding and simulation of various forms of  extreme climate events, in particular heat and cold spells, wind storms and heavy precipitation. Because such events are costly in human and economic terms, a key challenge for research is to assess whether climatic extremes are likely to increase in frequency and/or in intensity in a changing  global climate. This is by no means a trivial exercise, as was shown by Frei and Schaer (2001), because it is difficult to relate in a statistically-meaningful manner rare and short-lived weather episodes to long-term warming trends in a system that is characterised by significant non-linearities and thresholds (e.g., Rial et al., 2004). Changing statistical characteristics of extremes as they respond to warmer climates also add a degree of complexity to the assessment of their future changes (Katz and Brown, 2002). Furthermore, because anthropogenic climate forcing is superimposed  upon other modes of natural climate  variability, it is unclear whether changes in extremes  observed in various parts of the world are directly related to the enhanced greenhouse effect or whether they are influenced by specific features of phenomena such as ENSO (El Ni

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