Future climate risk from compound events

Jakob Zscheischler*, Seth Westra, Bart J.J.M. Van Den Hurk, Sonia I. Seneviratne, Philip J. Ward, Andy Pitman, Amir Aghakouchak, David N. Bresch, Michael Leonard, Thomas Wahl, Xuebin Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Floods, wildfires, heatwaves and droughts often result from a combination of interacting physical processes across multiple spatial and temporal scales. The combination of processes (climate drivers and hazards) leading to a significant impact is referred to as a 'compound event'. Traditional risk assessment methods typically only consider one driver and/or hazard at a time, potentially leading to underestimation of risk, as the processes that cause extreme events often interact and are spatially and/or temporally dependent. Here we show how a better understanding of compound events may improve projections of potential high-impact events, and can provide a bridge between climate scientists, engineers, social scientists, impact modellers and decision-makers, who need to work closely together to understand these complex events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-477
Number of pages9
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number6
Early online date14 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


1Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. 2School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. 3Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, The Netherlands. 4Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 5Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Climate Extremes and Climate Change Research Center, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. 6Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA. 7Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. 8Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, MeteoSwiss, Zurich, Switzerland. 9Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering and National Center for Integrated Coastal Research, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA. 10Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. *e-mail: [email protected]

FundersFunder number
Australian Research Council Center of Excellence for Climate System Science
Association pour la Recherche sur le CancerDP150100411
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme641811
European Commission
European Research Council
Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich016.161.324
Seventh Framework Programme617518


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