Given the time scales associated with climate change and societal response, it seems perhaps best to wait to consume the new IPCC Special Report Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) until it’s actually done. This seems especially true given its stated purpose:
The assessment concerns the interaction of climatic, environmental, and human factors that can lead to impacts and disasters, options for managing the risks posed by impacts and disasters, and the important role that non-climatic factors play in determining impacts.
Because managing those risks will likely have to be done on a local/local/regional/national scale, we need a lot more detail than that presented in the summary released Friday (pdf here) to actually make use of the thing. Its primary role now, it seems, is to fuel the usual climate wars feuds, though it seems to be profoundly useful in that regard. The echo chamber is loud this weekend.
That said, the summary does offer some interesting tidbits that will likely lead to useful reading once the full report is out:
It is likely that there has been a poleward shift in the main Northern and Southern Hemisphere extra-tropical storm tracks.
This is consistent with one of the components of drought discussions here in the southern tier of US states. But:
There is medium confidence that some regions of the world have experienced more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, e.g., in central North America and northwestern Australia.
So let’s talk again in February, shall we?