Extreme weather, such as the 2010 Russian heat wave or the drought in the horn of Africa, will become more frequent and severe as the planet warms, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns in a report released today. Some areas could become “increasingly marginal as places to live in”, the report concludes.
It is “virtually certain” — meaning 99–100% probability in IPCC terminology — that the twenty-first century will see an increase in the frequency and magnitude of warm temperature extremes and a decrease in cold extremes.
It is much less clear, however, how climate change will affect rainfall, flood risk and storminess.
A summary of the report for policymakers was released today at the IPCC plenary meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The full report, compiled over the past two and a half years by more than 100 scientists, draws on the results of thousands of published studies on physical-climate change, risk management and climate-change adaptation, and is scheduled for release early next year.