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Understanding the magnitude of climate extremes

Understanding the magnitude of climate extremes


A new ARC Future Fellow, Dr Kathryn Allen from the University of Tasmania, will analyse a 2000-year palaeoclimate record to provide a long-term context for observed changes in climate extremes over recent decades.

The project will provide valuable information about complex extremes that involve multiple types of impacts such as drought followed by flood, or the simultaneous occurrence of drought and fire. New knowledge about the long-term variability in the frequency and magnitude of these climate extremes (that occur on seasonal—decades time-scales) will improve our risk estimates for the impacts of climate extremes on Australian government and industry infrastructure.

Complex climate extremes are comprised of two or more climate events and result in greater impacts on society and environment than single event climate extremes. Their frequency and intensity are projected to increase in the future, but because extreme events are rare, the instrumental record is not long enough to really understand how unusual current changes are. A 2000-year record will better capture very rare extreme impacts and provide a stronger empirical foundation for policy and planning decisions, and for responding and adapting to the impacts of environmental change on biological systems, urban and rural communities, and industry.


Image Credit: Wikipedida (CC BY 2.0).

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