Following the string of high intensity tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin in 2017 and the devastating impacts on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), a number of questions have been raised about linkages between these cyclones and climate change.
This briefing provides clarity on scientifically-supported connections between existing tropical cyclones and climate change. The briefing also summarises how climate change may affect tropical cyclones at increased global mean temperatures in the future and provides a summary of the observed socio-economic impacts of these extreme events on SIDS.
- The Atlantic Hurricane season brought horrific destruction over the Caribbean. In Barbuda, over 90% of structures were destroyed, resulting in the island being completely uninhabited for the first time in 300 years. Across the Caribbean the economic costs of tropical cyclones amount to 2% of GDP annually since the 1950.
- The South Pacific has recently been hit by particularly destructive cyclones like Winston and Pam. Estimated economic cost of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu across all sectors was approximately 64% of the country’s GDP in 2016. In Fiji, Cyclone Winston displaced over 130,000 people.
- Attribution of tropical cyclones to climate change is difficult. However, a robust increase of the most devastating storms with climate change is evident. Under 2.5°C of global warming, the most devastating storms are projected to occur up to twice as often as today.
- The climate hazard posed by cyclones is further intensified by increasing risks of flooding through heavier precipitation and sea level rise as a result of climate change.
- The capability of many Islands to adapt to tropical cyclones is limited and such events can further erode their capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. The Loss and Damage inflicted by tropical cyclones, in particular on small island states, needs to be recognised and adequate support needs to be provided by the international community.
- Post-disaster investment needs to be ambitious in scale and scope, supporting the transition to resilient, low carbon societies.
Defining a Regional Goal on Adaptation for the Caribbean
While the Global Goal on Adaptation provides a collective goal for adapting to climate change, adaptation is often a context specific and localised process. This paper proposes a Regional Goal on Adaptation for the Caribbean based on priorities relevant for Caribbean small island developing states.
Adaptation constraints in scenarios of socio-economic development
Here, we combine data on documented adaptation from the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative with national macro indicators and assess future changes in adaptation constraints alongside the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, spanning a wide range of future socio-economic development scenarios.
Coastal loss and damage for small islands
This commentary on a paper in Nature Sustainability reviews how the study quantifies the impacts of sea-level rise on small island states and estimates the impacts in terms of cost, land loss and population exposure across all small islands worldwide.
The effects of political knowledge use by developing country negotiators in Loss and Damage negotiations
This article traces how developing country negotiators used knowledge to further their interests in loss and damage negotiations from 2003 to 2013.
Towards scenario representation of adaptive capacity for global climate change assessments
Climate change adaptation needs, as well as the capacity to adapt, are unequally distributed around the world. Here we propose ways to quantify adaptive capacity within the framework of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, a scenario set widely used by climate impact and integrated assessment models.
Risks of synchronised low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections
This study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.
De la CDN 1.0 à la CDN 2.0: qu'est-ce qui a changé dans les CDN des PMA de l’Afrique de l'Ouest?
La présente étude examine les premières et les secondes Contributions Déterminées au niveau National des onze pays les moins avancés de l’Afrique de l’Ouest à savoir le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, la Gambie, la Guinée, la Guinée Bissau, le Libéria, le Mali, le Niger, le Sénégal, la Sierra Leone et le Togo.
Representation of adaptation in quantitative climate assessments
Adaptation is a key societal response to reduce the impacts of climate change, yet it is poorly represented in current modelling frameworks. We identify key research gaps and suggest entry points for adaptation in quantitative assessments of climate change to enhance policy guidance.
Research agenda for the loss and damage fund
This piece in Nature discusses what research could contribute to the design of the loss and damage fund.
The deployment length of solar radiation modification: an interplay of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty
Here, we investigate the deployment timescales of solar radiation modification and how they are affected by different levels of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty.