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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Glenn McGregor

McGregor, G.R. (2015). Climatology in support of climate risk management: A progress report. Progress in Physical Geography 39(4): 536-553.

Author(s) from Durham


Climate risk management has emerged over the last decade as a distinct area of activity within the wider field of climatology. Its focus is on integrating climate and non-climate information in order to enhance the decision-making process in a wide range of climate-sensitive sectors of society, the economy and the environment. Given the burgeoning pure and applied climate science literature that addresses a range of climate risks, the purpose of this progress report is to provide an overview of recent developments in the field of climatology that may contribute to the risk assessment component of climate risk management. Data rescue and climate database construction, hurricanes and droughts as examples of extreme climate events and seasonal climate forecasting are focused on in this report and are privileged over other topics because of either their fundamental importance for establishing event probability or scale of societal impact. The review of the literature finds that historical data rescue, climate reconstruction and the compilation of climate data bases has assisted immensely in understanding past climate events and increasing the information base for managing climate risk. Advances in the scientific understanding of the causes and the characterization of hurricanes and droughts stand to benefit the management of these two extreme events while work focused on unravelling the nature of ocean–atmosphere interactions and associated climate anomalies at the seasonal timescale has provided the basis for the possible seasonal forecasting of a range of climate events. The report also acknowledges that despite the potential of climate information to assist with managing climate risk, its uptake by decision makers should not be automatically assumed by the climatological community.