Global Change and Vulnerability Unit

Genève, Switzerland

Global Change and Vulnerability Unit

Genève, Switzerland
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Kundzewicz Z.W.,Polish Academy of Sciences | Kundzewicz Z.W.,Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research | Kanae S.,Tokyo Institute of Technology | Seneviratne S.I.,ETH Zurich | And 15 more authors.
Hydrological Sciences Journal | Year: 2014

A holistic perspective on changing rainfall-driven flood risk is provided for the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Economic losses from floods have greatly increased, principally driven by the expanding exposure of assets at risk. It has not been possible to attribute rain-generated peak streamflow trends to anthropogenic climate change over the past several decades. Projected increases in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall, based on climate models, should contribute to increases in precipitation-generated local flooding (e.g. flash flooding and urban flooding). This article assesses the literature included in the IPCC SREX report and new literature published since, and includes an assessment of changes in flood risk in seven of the regions considered in the recent IPCC SREX report-Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, Oceania and Polar regions. Also considering newer publications, this article is consistent with the recent IPCC SREX assessment finding that the impacts of climate change on flood characteristics are highly sensitive to the detailed nature of those changes and that presently we have only low confidence1 in numerical projections of changes in flood magnitude or frequency resulting from climate change. © 2013 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.


Peduzzi P.,Global Change and Vulnerability Unit | Peduzzi P.,University of Lausanne | Chatenoux B.,Global Change and Vulnerability Unit | Chatenoux B.,University of Geneva | And 9 more authors.
Nature Climate Change | Year: 2012

The impact of tropical cyclones on humans depends on the number of people exposed and their vulnerability, as well as the frequency and intensity of storms. How will the cumulative effects of climate change, demography and vulnerability affect risk? Conventionally, reports assessing tropical cyclone risk trends are based on reported losses, but these figures are biased by improvements to information access. Here we present a new methodology based on thousands of physically observed events and related contextual parameters. We show that mortality risk depends on tropical cyclone intensity, exposure, levels of poverty and governance. Despite the projected reduction in the frequency of tropical cyclones, projected increases in both demographic pressure and tropical cyclone intensity over the next 20 years can be expected to greatly increase the number of people exposed per year and exacerbate disaster risk, despite potential progression in development and governance. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Peduzzi P.,Global Change and Vulnerability Unit | Peduzzi P.,University of Lausanne | Herold C.,Global Change and Vulnerability Unit | Silverio W.,University of Geneva
Cryosphere | Year: 2010

Higher temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns have induced an acute decrease in Andean glaciers, thus leading to additional stress on water supply. To adapt to climate changes, local governments need information on the rate of glacier area and volume losses and on current ice thickness. Remote sensing analyses of Coropuna glacier (Peru) delineate an acute glaciated area decline between 1955 and 2008. We tested how volume changes can be estimated with remote sensing and GIS techniques using digital elevation models derived from both topographic maps and satellite images. Ice thickness was measured in 2004 using a Ground Penetrating Radar coupled with a Ground Positioning System during a field expedition. It provided profiles of ice thickness on different slopes, orientations and altitudes. These were used to model the current glacier volume using Geographical Information System and statistical multiple regression techniques. The results revealed a significant glacier volume loss; however the uncertainty is higher than the measured volume loss. We also provided an estimate of the remaining volume. The field study provided the scientific evidence needed by COPASA, a local Peruvian NGO, and GTZ, the German international cooperation agency, in order to alert local governments and communities and guide them in adopting new climate change adaptation policies. © Author(s) 2010.

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