This volume, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation, is a Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report is a collaborative effort of Working Group I (WGI) and Working Group II (WGII). The IPCC leadership team for this report also has responsibility for the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), scheduled for completion in 2013 and 2014.
The Special Report brings together scientific communities with expertise in three very different aspects of managing risks of extreme weather and climate events. For this report, specialists in disaster recovery, disaster risk management, and disaster risk reduction, a community mostly new to the IPCC, joined forces with experts in the areas of the physical science basis of climate change (WGI) and climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability (WGII). Over the course of the two-plus years invested in assessing information and writing the report, scientists from these three communities forged shared goals and products.
Extreme weather and climate events have figured prominently in past IPCC assessments. Extremes can contribute to disasters, but disaster risk is influenced by more than just the physical hazards. Disaster risk emerges from the interaction of weather or climate events, the physical contributors to disaster risk, with exposure and vulnerability, the contributors to risk from the human side. The combination of severe consequences, rarity, and human as well as physical determinants makes disasters difficult to study.