Extreme weather and climate are involved in two-thirds of the deaths and economic losses that result from natural hazards. The impacts of extremes can be severe in all countries, whether because of poor resilience or because of exposure of expensive assets to risk.
While the loss of life to weather and climate extremes has been in decline in recent years, the insured losses continue to escalate. The decline in the loss of life is a testament to the success of early warning systems based on weather forecasts, but the rise in insured losses is a testament to the need for more effective use of climate information.
Improved use of climate information can contribute to efforts to reduce the impacts of extremes in a number of ways by improving:
- Assessment of risk using historical data on hazards and analyses of trends
- Prevention and mitigation informed by dynamic risk assessments
- Preparedness by implementation and development of early warning systems
- Disaster response informed by real-time assessments
- Disaster detection through real-time monitoring of hazards
- Financing and transfer of risk through index-based insurance products, for example
The IRI and a growing number of partners recognize that improved use of climate information represents an opportunity not only to reduce the impacts of extreme events today, but also to adapt to a warming climate whose impacts are likely to be most keenly felt in changes in the frequencies and intensities of hazards.