date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 10:16:06 +0000
from: Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: Dear Professor Jone,
to: Duncan Barker <D-BarkeratXYZxyzd.gov.uk>
The questions you are going to be addressing are not easy
ones. We have done some work in them and in related areas.
Mike Hulme, here, was involved in a Royal Society initiative
for the UK Contribution for the International Decade for
Natural Disaster Reduction. Mike was in the Drought area, others
being Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Floods and Wind Storms.
A visit would seem to be best, but I've just checked with
Mike and he and I are away at different times for the whole of
March. The earliest dates we could make are March29-31, just
before Easter. Can you check this and/or suggest possible dates
A couple of points I can reply to :
1) From the climate scenarios we develop in CRU there is no
evidence that there will be any increase in tropical storms.
In the area with the best data - the tropical Atlantic, there
has been a reduction in both the numbers and the severity of
Atlantic Hurricanes over the last 50 years. There has been
a lot of US work on this subject. Although only applying to
the US area, the work shows that damage ( when normalized
to a common point in $'s) and lives lost have both reduced.
Claims are much higher because of greater insured areas
and the much greater population living in affected areas
(particularly in Florida).
2) A recent paper in Climatic Change by S. Ungar, 1999 called
'Is strange weather in the air ? A study of US National
Network News coverage of extreme weather events' shows that
there hasn't been an increase in extreme events reporting
(global areas) since the 1960s.
Most lay people beleive there has been an increase because
the pictures make news stories. In the past there were reports
but no pictures. The media also always like an explaination
for an extreme, so the greenhouse effect or ENSO often gets
the blame. There have, however, been few studies which have
attempted to look at extreme events on a continental scale to
se whether they have been increasing or decreasing in frequency.
I hope we can manage to sort out a convenient date.
At 12:39 PM 2/25/99 +0000, you wrote:
>Dear Professor Jone,
>Working in the Natural Resources Policy and Advisory Department of the
Department for International Development
>(DFID) I am currently looking at Environmental Degradation, Climate Change
and Natural Disasters. We are
>particularly concerned with this issue in the light of a number of high
profile natural disasters in the past 12 months
>(Hurricane Mitch and Floods in China in particular).
>Andrew Bennett in the Natural Resources Division suggested I made contact
>The two key questions to be addressed by my research are
>1. Is there any evidence of a change in the nature and/or frequency of
natural disasters due to climate change or
>2. Is there any evidence that their impact has been greater because of
environmental degradation and if so, what
>types of degradation?
>If there is evidence to suggest a link the crucial issue is what can be
done to limit the frequency, intensity and
>impact of future natural disasters?
>We would be interested to hear your views and those of other experts
Climatic Research Unit as we investigate
>It may be more appropriate to discuss these issues face to face. If you
feel this to be the case please suggest a
>date when I could visit the CRU to meet you.
>Thanks very much, and I look forward to hearing from you
>This email and any files transmitted with it have been swept by
>MIMEsweeper for the presence of computer viruses.
>Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\ADDRESS.TXT"
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk