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16.09.2010 -

Workshop on metrics and methodologies of estimation of extreme climate events

The Workshop focus is on phenomenology and methodological aspects of the quantitative estimation of different climate extremes under observed and future climate conditions using observational and model data.

Extreme climate events have disastrous impacts on economic and social conditions, resulting in fatalities and monetary losses and affecting the economic stability of many regions. During the last decades, these extreme events (precipitation, flooding, heat waves, dry and wet spells, droughts, cyclone activity, extreme winds, marine storminess and changes in sea level) have grown in intensity and frequency. At the same time, observed and projected changes in the extremes are strongly localized and significantly different from region to region.

Numerous activities overseen by the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO, aiming at water resource management and capacity building, pose additional requirements for accurate estimation of extreme events in a changing climate. Existing water management practices cannot satisfactorily cope with current climate variability and are definitely not capable of managing the impacts of future climate change on water supply, agriculture, energy and aquatic ecosystems.

Despite unequivocal progress in understanding climate and weather extremes, their estimation is still highly inaccurate. Large uncertainties result from the insufficient quality and sampling of observational data and from inadequate resolution of model simulations. Inadequate quality and resolution of observational and model data makes it difficult to apply advanced statistical methodologies. Furthermore, the same methods applied to the data of different resolutions require different approaches in further analysis. Finally, advanced statistical methodologies for estimation of extremes themselves have not yet been exploited to the full extent and require validation and improvement.

Workshop objectives:

  • Review and assessment of the existing metrics of extreme weather and climate events and identification of their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Critical assessment of the variety of methods for estimation of climate extremes and their uncertainties, involving cross-pollination of experience from different areas;
  • Assessment of the reliability of representation of different extremes in different data types and model simulations;
  • Identification of critical gaps in quantitative estimation of climate and weather extremes in data and model experiments, particularly spatial aspects of extreme events and the nature of the “compound” events;
  • Development of the optimal strategy for improving the estimation of climate and weather extremes and their projection in future climate through the implementation of well justified characteristics of extremes and accurate methodologies of their estimation;
  • Critical assessment of the synergy between different extremes (e.g. precipitation, temperature and flooding) and of the impacts of extremes.

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