This chapter provides an introduction to this book, briefly outlining each chapter. It discusses the challenges posed by climate-related hazards, highlights critical components or early warning systems, mentions examples of current early warning systems, and describes emerging areas of development. Suggestions on ways to improve warning communication, and encourage early action, are provided. The potential utility of broader risk management approaches and flexible and forward decision-making are also mentioned. This chapter concludes that great progress has been made in early warning systems. But sustained efforts are needed to refine the political, social, and financial mechanisms that support warning systems. Continued improvement is all the more urgent given an ethical responsibility to issue warnings that prevent loss of life and property and help build adaptive capacity.


Dust Storm Climate Change Adaptation Early Warning System Extreme Weather Event Disaster Risk Reduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bailey R (2013) Managing future famine risks: linking early warning to early action. Chatham House, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Banerjee A, Duflo E (2012) Poor economics: a radical rethink of the way to fight global poverty. New York: Public AffairsGoogle Scholar
  3. Djalante R, Thomalla F (2011) Community resilience to natural hazards and climate change impacts: a review of definitions and operational frameworks. Asian J Environ Disaster Manag 3(3):339–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. FEWSNET (2011) East Africa Food Security Update, August 7, 2011. [Online]. Available: http://www.fews.net/docs/Publications/East_Regional_FSOU_2011_08_07_final.pdf
  5. Golnaraghi M (2012) Institutional partnerships in multi-hazard early warning systems. Springer, GenevaCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guttal V, Jayaprakash C (2008) Changing skewness: an early warning signal of regime shifts in ecosystems. Ecol Lett 11:450–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hsiang S, Bruke M, Miguel E (2013) Quantifying the influence of climate on human conflict. Science 341. doi:10.1126/science.1235367Google Scholar
  8. IFRC (2013a) Red Cross Red Crescent steps in to assist flood victims in Sudan. [Online]. Available: http://www.ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/press-releases/africa/sudan/red-cross-red-crescent-step-in-to-assist-flood-victims-in-sudan/.
  9. IFRC (2013b) Red Cross responds as severe flooding takes its toll in the Sahel. [Online]. Available: http://ifrc.org/en/news-and-media/news-stories/africa/mali/red-cross-responds-as-severe-flooding-takes-its-toll-in-the-sahel-63090/
  10. IPCC (2011) Special report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation: fact sheet. [Online]. Available: http://ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/
  11. IPCC (2012) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker B, Qin D, Dokken D, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Plattner GK, Allen SK, Tignor M, PM Midgley (eds) A special report of working groups I and II of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  12. Jalante R, Thomalla F (2011) Community resilience to natural hazards and climate change impacts: a review of definitions and operational frameworks. Asian J Environ Disaster Manag 3(3):339–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jones L, Ludi E, Beautement P, Broenner C, Bachofen C (2013) New approaches to promoting flexible and forward decision making. Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking, fast and slow. London: Allen LaneGoogle Scholar
  15. Kellet J, Caravani A (2013) Financing disaster risk reduction: a 20 year story of international aid. Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Kunreuther H, Heal G, Allen M, Edenhofer O, Field C, Yohe G (2013) Risk management and climate change. Nat Clim Chang 3(5):447–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Levin K (2013) Timeline: a look at extreme weather and climate events in 2013. World Resources Institute. Available at: http://www.wri.org/blog/timeline-look-extreme-weather-and-climate-events-2013. Accessed 8 Oct 2013
  18. Lott F, Christidis N, Stott P (2013) Can the 2011 East African drought be attributed to human-induced climate change? Geophys Res Lett 40:1177–1181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Metha V, Meehl G, Goodard L, Knight J, Kumar A, Latif M, Lee T, Rosati A, Stammer D (2011) Decadal climate predictability and prediction: Where are We? BAMS:637–640Google Scholar
  20. Mitchell T, Van Aals (2008) Convergence of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, Department for International Development, London. [Online]. Available: http://www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=7853
  21. MoE (2008) Dust and sandstorms, Ministry of Environment Japan. [Online]. Available: http://www.env.go.jp/en/earth/dss/pamph/pdf/full.pdf
  22. New York Times (2009) Obama’s speech on climate change. [Online]. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/us/politics/23obama.text.html?pagewanted=all
  23. NOAA (2013a) Global hazards January 2013. [Online]. Available: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2013/1#temps
  24. NOAA (2013b) US seasonal drought outlook. [Online]. Available: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.html
  25. Penning-Rowsell EC, Green C (2000) New insights into the appraisal of flood alleviation benefits (1); flood damage and flood loss information. J Inst Water Environ Manag 14(October):347–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reuters (2013) Analysis: how a prepared India saved lives during monster storm Phailin. http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/10/14/analysis-cyclone-phailin-odisha-idINDEE99D04T20131014. Accessed 24 Oct 2013
  27. Schneider SH, Semenov S, Patwardhan A, Burton I, Magadza CHD, Oppenheimer M, Pittock AB, Rahman A, Smith JB, Suarez A, Yamin F (2007) Assessing key vulnerabilities and the risk from climate change. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp 779–810Google Scholar
  28. Scott J (1998) Seeing like a state. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, USAGoogle Scholar
  29. Sen A (1981) Poverty and famines. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  30. Shepherd A, Mitchell T, Lewis K, Lenhardt A, Jones L, Scott L, Muir-Wood R (2013) Executive summary: geography of disasters, poverty and climate extremes in 2030. Overseas Development Institute, LondonGoogle Scholar
  31. Tversky A, Kahneman D (1974) Judgement under uncertainty: heuristics and biases. Science 185:1124–1131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. UN (2013) A new global partnership: eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development. The report of the high level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda. New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. UNEP (2011) Food security in the horn of Africa: the implications of a drier, hotter and more crowded future. [Online]. Available: http://na.unep.net/geas/newsletter/Nov_11.php
  34. UNEP (2012) The emissions gap report 2012. United Nations Environment Programme, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  35. UNISDR (2008) Climate change and disaster risk reduction, Briefing Note 1. United Nations, Geneva. [Online]. Available: http://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/publications/4146
  36. UNISDR (2009) Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction. United Nations, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  37. UNISDR (2011a) Strengthening climate change adaption through effective disaster risk reduction, Briefing Note 3. [Online]. Available: http://www.unisdr.org/files/16861_ccbriefingnote3.pdf
  38. UNISDR (2011b) Global assessment report on disaster risk reduction. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  39. Van Oldenborgh G, Doblas-Reyes F, Wouters B, Hazeleger W (2012) Skill in the trend and internal variability in a multi-model decadal prediction ensemble. Climate Dynamics (in press). Available: http://www.knmi.nl/publications/
  40. Ververs M (2012) The East African food crisis: did regional early warning systems function? J Nutr 142:131–133Google Scholar
  41. Warner K, Van der Geest K, Kreft S, Huq S, Harmeling S, Kusters K, de Sherbinin A (2012) Evidence from the front lines of climate change: loss and damage to communities despite coping and adaptation. Policy report no. 9, United Nations University. Available: http://unu.edu/publications/policy-briefs/evidence-from-the-frontlines-of-climate-change-loss-and-damage-to-communities-despite-coping-and-adaptation.html
  42. Williams A, Funk C (2011) A westward extension of the warm pool leads to a westward extension of the Walker circulation, drying eastern Africa. Climate Dynamics (in press). Available: http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/~williams/publications/WilliamsAndFunk_2011_ClimateDynamics.pdf
  43. WMO (2011) Good practices for multi-hazard Early Warning Systems (EWS). MeteoWorld. [Online]. Available: http://www.wmo.int/pages/publications/meteoworld/mhew_en.html

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Early Warning and AssessmentUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Formerly with Division of Early Warning and AssessmentUnited Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)Washington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations