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Climate information for adaptation: from years to decades

Nissan, Hannah J.; Thomson, Madeleine C.; Mason, Simon J.; Muñoz, Ángel G.

In writing this book, we have prioritized shorter timescales of weather and climate variability because these have most direct relevance to the types of operational and planning decisions made in the health sector. However, in this chapter, we focus on longer-term health decisions that require climate knowledge and information at timescales beyond a year to multiple decades (up to 50 years). This time span incorporates both natural decadal variability and the influences of anthropogenic climate change. It is an extremely challenging timeframe at which to work because of the very limited operational predictive skill at multiannual timescales, and limited confidence about how rainfall may change on longer timescales. Despite these challenges, the timescales under consideration, especially the next five to 20 years, are particularly important when considering how to adapt to climate change. Here we discuss what we do and do not know about the climate in the coming years. We then focus on the practical use of climate information in understanding observed climate impacts on health as well as the prediction of multi-annual to multi-decadal risks. The multi-annual timescale is often referred to as ‘decadal’, even though the forecasts are for periods less than a decade.


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Also Published In

Climate Information for Public Health Action

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
March 18, 2020