Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley

Cambridge University Press

Published date June 27, 2012

IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation


This IPCC report addresses, for the first time, how integrating expertise in climate science, disaster risk management, and adaptation can inform discussions on how to reduce and manage the risks of extreme events and disasters in a changing climate. The report evaluates the role of climate change in altering characteristics of extreme events. It assesses experience with a wide range of options used by institutions, organizations, and communities to reduce exposure and vulnerability, and improve resilience, to climate extremes. Among these are early-warning systems, innovations in insurance coverage, improvements in infrastructure, and the expansion of social safety nets.

This report also incorporates case studies that illustrate specific extreme events and their impacts in different parts of the world, as well as a range of risk management activities.

The report provides information on how:

  • Natural climate variability and human-generated climate change influence the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, and duration of some extreme weather and climate events;
  • The vulnerability of exposed human society and ecosystems interacts with these events to determine impacts and the likelihood of disasters;
  • Different development pathways can make future populations more or less vulnerable to extreme events;
  • Experience with climate extremes and adaptation to climate change provides lessons on ways to better manage current and future risks related to extreme weather and climate events, and;
  • Populations can become more resilient before disasters strike.

Key themes

  • In some parts of the world, increases in some extreme weather and climate events have been observed. Further increases are projected over the 21st century.
  • Socioeconomic development, natural climate variations, and human-caused climate change influence climate- and weather-related disaster risk.
  • Experience with disaster risk management and climate change adaptation provides a knowledge base for informing effective approaches to prepare for and respond to extreme events and disasters.