Wildfire is the single greatest terrestrial disturbance agent on Earth. Satellite data suggest that in an average year, wildfires burn a total area of around 3.5 million km2, an area around 15 times larger than the UK. While some of these fires are purposefully controlled or are manageable, and can have benefits for ecosystems and livelihoods, other fires burn uncontrollably, with sometimes devastating consequences for safety, livelihoods, wildlife and climate. Continue reading Spreading like wildfire; the double-threat of changing landscapes and climate
There can be no doubt that the summer of 2018 has been remarkable both in the UK and across the world. Following an appearance on BBC Newsnight, in which the presenter Emily Maitlis asked if current temperatures can be considered the ‘new normal’, Professor Stephen Belcher, Chief Scientist at the Met Office, and Professor Sir Brian Hoskins, Chair of the Grantham Institute, give their perspective … Continue reading Summer temperatures 2018 – the ‘new normal’?
Tarek Cheaib, former student on the Grantham Institute and Imperial College Business School MSc in Climate Change, Management and Finance, considers the impact of heatwaves on the workplace, and why they will have a big impact on the global economy. It’s easy to see the economic impact of extreme weather events or natural disasters like wildfires or floods. In 2012, for example, Hurricane Sandy forced … Continue reading Feeling the heat? So is our economy!
Grantham PhD student Dilshad Shawki explores the latest research unpicking the influence of human activity across the globe on the South Asian monsoon. Each summer the South Asian monsoon drenches the Indian subcontinent, as strong moisture-laden winds from the Indian Ocean deliver over 70% of the region’s annual rainfall in just 3 months. As such, the monsoon’s bountiful rain is crucial to the economy and … Continue reading It’s a small world: How air pollution in Europe can affect rainfall in India
Filip Babovic (Department of Civil Engineering) (@filipbabovic) looks back on the record-breaking floods experienced in the UK last December, asking whether we should expect such extreme weather to become the norm and how we can defend ourselves against future flooding. The UK has a reputation for being rainy, but last December it saw a deluge of truly epic proportions as the country was battered by … Continue reading UK floods: An uncertain future calls for flexible plans
Dr Gabriele Messori, Imperial physics alumnus and climate scientist writes about the contentious issue of the loss and damage caused by adverse effects of climate change. A key section in the draft agreement called ‘Loss and Damage’, has so far been one of the most debated elements of the negotiations at COP21 here in Paris, and is arguably holding up many other discussions. In the … Continue reading Why a debate over who should take responsibility for climate change’s impending humanitarian disaster is proving hard to solve at COP21
The AXA Futures event ‘Climate Change and Extreme Weather – How Do We Protect Communities at Risk?’ hosted by the Grantham Institute brought together leading climate change scientists and influencers to debate how to manage climate change and what COP21 should seek to achieve. World Meteorological Organisation figures show that weather and climate-related disasters have caused $2.4 trillion in economic losses and nearly 2 million deaths globally since … Continue reading Video: Climate change and extreme weather
By Dr Flora Whitmarsh, Grantham Institute The recently published 2015 Global Peace Index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, said that although OECD countries became more peaceful in 2014, there has been substantial increase in annual war-related deaths since 2010, and there are now more refugees than at any time since the Second World War. It is currently difficult to give a definitive answer as … Continue reading Is climate change increasing the risk of armed conflict?
This blog post by Malcom Graham, an SSCP DTP student, is part of a series on Responding to Environmental Change, an event organised by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded Doctoral Training Partnerships at Imperial (SSCP), and the University of Reading and the University of Surrey (SCENARIO). See the full list of blogs in this series here. Environmental hazards are becoming more frequent and severe, … Continue reading Resilience to environmental hazards
By Dr Flora MacTavish and Dr Simon Buckle In the press coverage of the recent floods, there has been a lot of discussion about whether the authorities could have been better prepared or responded more effectively. The National Farmers Union has called for the reintroduction of river dredging, although experts argue that dredging may be limited in its effectiveness. Local authorities have been criticised by … Continue reading Moving from tactics to strategy: extreme weather, climate risks and the policy response