Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 


A new Harvard report probes security risks of extreme weather and climate change

Scientists identify security risks from climate change, and recommend investments in monitoring and forecasting to prepare for growing threats

Increasingly frequent extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, severe storms, and heat waves have focused the attention of climate scientists on the connections between greenhouse warming and extreme weather. Because of the potential threat to U.S. national security, a new study was conducted to explore the forces driving extreme weather events and their impacts over the next decade, specifically with regard to their implications for national security planning.

The report finds that the early ramifications of climate extremes resulting from climate change are already upon us and will continue to be felt over the next decade, directly impacting U.S. national security interests. "Lessons from the past are no longer of great value as a guide to the future," said co-lead author Michael McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University. "Unexpected changes in regional weather are likely to define the new climate normal, and we are not prepared."

Changes in extremes include more record high temperatures; fewer but stronger tropical cyclones; wider areas of drought and increases in precipitation; increased climate variability; Arctic warming and attendant impacts; and continued sea level rise as greenhouse warming continues and even accelerates. These changes will affect water and food availability, energy decisions, the design of critical infrastructure, use of the global commons such as the oceans and the Arctic region, and critical ecosystem resources. They will affect both underdeveloped and industrialized countries with large costs in terms of economic and human security. The study identifies specific regional climate impacts—droughts and desertification in Mexico, Southwest Asia, and the Eastern Mediterranean, and increased flooding in South Asia—that are of particular strategic importance to the United States.

The report concludes that the risks related to extreme weather require that the U.S. sustain and augment its scientific and technical capacity to observe key indicators, monitor unfolding events, and forewarn of impending security threats as nations adapt to a changing climate. The study recommends a national strategy for strategic observations and monitoring— including greenhouse gas and aerosol emissions, ocean temperatures, and satellite observations of the Arctic—and improved forecast models. "Our critical observational infrastructure is at risk from declining funding," added co-lead author D. James Baker, Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program at the William J. Clinton Foundation and former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). "Without that knowledge, the needs of civil society and national security for mitigation and adaptation will go unmet."

The report grew out of a series of workshops with an international group of leading climate scientists held at the National Academy of Sciences, Columbia University, and the Harvard University Center for the Environment. The study was conducted with funds provided by the Central Intelligence Agency. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the CIA or the U.S. Government.

Michael McElroy is the Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at Harvard University with a joint appointment in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He is a faculty associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He studies changes in the composition of the atmosphere with an emphasis on the impact of human activity. His research includes investigations of processes affecting the abundance of ozone in the stratosphere and factors influencing the chemical composition of the troposphere. It explores the manner in which changes in the composition of the atmosphere affect climate. His research also addresses challenges for public policy posed by the rapid pace of industrialization in developing countries such as China and India while exploring alternative strategies for more sustainable development in mature economies such as the United States. Email:; Telephone: 617-495-4359

D. James Baker, is Director, Global Carbon Measurement Program at the William J. Clinton Foundation, working with forestry programs in developing countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate poverty. He served as Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Clinton administration. He is also a a member of the U.S. Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests and of the Technical Advisory Panel for the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. He is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of Delaware. He has more than 100 scientific publications and is the author of the book Planet Earth: The View from Space, published by Harvard University Press. Email:; Telephone: 215-939-2021

Download the full "Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with Implications for National Security" report at

Michael McElroy | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Gas hydrate research: Advanced knowledge and new technologies
23.03.2018 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

nachricht New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data
22.03.2018 | University of Southampton

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Weltraumbeobachtung mit Radar zur Sicherheit der Weltrauminfrastruktur für Deutschland

Immer mehr Weltraummüll gefährdet die Satelliten im erdnahen Orbit. Ihre Aufgaben in den Bereichen Telekommunikation, Navigation oder Wettervorhersage sind jedoch essentiell für unsere Gesellschaft. Das Fraunhofer FHR entwickelt deshalb radarbasierte Systeme, mit denen auch kleinste Trümmerteile detektiert, nachverfolgt und katalogisiert werden können. Mit hochpräzisen Bahndaten möglichst vieler dieser Objekte können Satellitenbetreiber Ausweichmanöver besser planen und zerstörerische Kollisionen vermeiden. Das Fraunhofer FHR stellt zusammen mit seinen Partnern vom 25.-29.4.2018 Messe ILA Berlin die komplementären Radarsysteme TIRA und GESTRA zur Weltraumbeobachtung vor.

Die »Verkehrssituation« im All ist angespannt: Neben unzähligen Satelliten umkreisen Weltraumtrümmer wie zum Beispiel ausgebrannte Raketenstufen und...

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Forscher entdecken neues Anti-Krebs-Protein

Ein internationales Forscherteam hat ein neues Anti-Krebs-Protein entdeckt. Das Protein namens LHPP verhindert, dass sich Krebszellen in der Leber ungebremst vermehren. Zudem eignet es sich als Biomarker für die Diagnose und Prognose von Leberzellkrebs. Dies berichten Forscher unter der Leitung von Prof. Michael N. Hall vom Biozentrum der Universität Basel in «Nature».

Die Häufigkeit von Leberkrebs, auch bekannt als Leberzellkarzinom, nimmt stetig zu. In der Schweiz hat sich die Zahl der Erkrankungen in den letzten zwanzig...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: LifeTime – ein visionärer Vorschlag für ein EU-Flagschiff

Zuverlässig vorherzusagen, wann eine Krankheit ausbricht oder wie sie verläuft, erscheint wie ein Traum. Ein europäisches Konsortium will ihn Wirklichkeit werden lassen und dabei vor allem neue Technologien der Einzelzellbiologie nutzen. Führende Forscherinnen und Forscher haben daher einen Antrag für ein FET-Flagschiff mit dem Namen LifeTime eingereicht.

Nachdem das Humangenomprojekt 2001 abgeschlossen war, haben Wissenschaft und Medien das Genom als „Buch des Lebens“ bezeichnet. Darin könne man nachlesen, wie...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>



Industrie & Wirtschaft

Internationales Meeting zu Neuroakanthozytose-Syndromen

23.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Hightech-Implantate sind Thema beim 12. COMPAMED Frühjahrsforum

23.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Hybrid-elektrisch angetriebene Verkehrsflugzeuge – Zukunft oder Fiktion?

20.03.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Gashydratforschung: Erweitertes Grundwissen und neue Technologien

23.03.2018 | Geowissenschaften

Japanischer Teilchenbeschleuniger SuperKEKB startet durch

23.03.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Medikament oder Plagiat?

23.03.2018 | Physik Astronomie

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics