Colloquium on June 18, 2012

Joaquim G. Pinto
Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology, University of Cologne

Extreme events, climate change and related impacts

Observations from the last decades provide evidence of changes in the intensity and frequency of some meteorological and hydrological extreme events, for example heatwaves, droughts or heavy precipitation. Extreme events are per definition rare, meaning that only a limited amount of data is available to estimate their frequency, intensity and possible trends. This makes the correct assessment of possible changes of extreme events difficult, particularly in terms of the reliability of the estimated long-term changes. Based on results from the new „Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change“ regarding extremes, management and adaptation strategies, the possible changes of extremes for the past decades and the projected future are analysed for a wide variety of meteorological and hydrological extreme events. The natural variability of the climate system, data uncertainties and societal impacts are discussed.