Special Issue "High Impact Events and Climate Change"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Martin Drews
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Systems Analysis, DTU Management Engineering, Lyngby, Denmark
Interests: climate modelling; atmospheric sciences; mathematical statistics; experimental physics
Dr. Hilppa Gregow
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Climate Service Centre, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finnland
Interests: weather and long range forecasting; climate change research; product development; communication to media

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Changes in the characteristics, frequency, and severity of extreme events, such as tropical cyclones, hailstorms, storm surges, and cloudbursts, are amongst the most significant aspects of climate change. To understand and predict such events and their impacts is of paramount importance for society and may serve as a critical boundary condition for sustainable development. Thus, not all climate extremes have catastrophic impacts, since “high impact events” also depend intrinsically on the exposure and vulnerability/resilience of particular systems or locations. The European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA) is a bottom-up platform for networking, support, visibility, and knowledge exchanges amongst European climate researchers. The ECRA Collaborative Programme on “High Impact Events and Climate Change” promotes research on the mechanisms behind high impact events and climate extremes, simulation of high impact events under present and future climatic conditions, and on how relevant information for climate risk analysis, vulnerability and adaptation may be co-created with users, e.g., in terms of tailored climate services. For this aim, this Special Issue invites contributions across the four key scientific topics of the Collaborative Programme, i.e.,

  • Understanding mechanisms: Assessment of past and future high impact events, coincident events, and detection and attribution
  • Projecting changes: High resolution climate and impact modelling
  • Producing climate information at relevant scales: Downscaling with different methodologies
  • Co-creating climate services with users: Climate risk analysis, vulnerability and adaptation

These topics are only examples, and other, perhaps novel and/or emerging topics within the area of high impact events and climate extremes are welcome. Extremes considered include but are not limited to storms (tropical, extra-tropical and thunderstorms including hail), flooding (pluvial, fluvial), storm surges, heatwaves and droughts. We encourage papers that link advances in climate science with aspects of sustainable and/or climate resilient development, for example through the innovation of climate services (e.g., through activities such as ERA4CS or Copernicus).

Dr. Martin Drews
Dr. Hilppa Gregow
Chairs of the ECRA Collaborative Programme on High Impact Events and Climate Change
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Projection of Forest Fire Danger due to Climate Change in the French Mediterranean Region
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4284; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164284 - 08 Aug 2019
Abstract
Fire occurrence and behaviour in Mediterranean-type ecosystems strongly depend on the air temperature and wind conditions, the amount of fuel load and the drought conditions that drastically increase flammability, particularly during the summer period. In order to study the fire danger due to [...] Read more.
Fire occurrence and behaviour in Mediterranean-type ecosystems strongly depend on the air temperature and wind conditions, the amount of fuel load and the drought conditions that drastically increase flammability, particularly during the summer period. In order to study the fire danger due to climate change for these ecosystems, the meteorologically based Fire Weather Index (FWI) can be used. The Fire Weather Index (FWI) system, which is part of the Canadian Forest Fire Danger Rating System (CFFDRS), has been validated and recognized worldwide as one of the most trusted and important indicators for meteorological fire danger mapping. A number of FWI system components (Fire Weather Index, Drought Code, Initial Spread Index and Fire Severity Rating) were estimated and analysed in the current study for the Mediterranean area of France. Daily raster-based data-sets for the fire seasons (1st May–31st October) of a historic and a future time period were created for the study area based on representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, outputs of CNRM-SMHI and MPI-SMHI climate models. GIS spatial analyses were applied on the series of the derived daily raster maps in order to provide a number of output maps for the study area. The results portray various levels of changes in fire danger, in the near future, according to the examined indices. Number of days with high and very high FWI values were found to be doubled compared to the historical period, in particular in areas of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region and Corsica. The areas with high Initial Spread Index and Seasonal Spread Index values increased as well, forming compact zones of high fire danger in the southern part of the study area, while the Drought Code index did not show remarkable changes. The current study on the evolution of spatial and temporal distribution of forest fire danger due to climate change can provide important knowledge to the decision support process for prevention and management policies of forest fires both at a national and EU level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Policy Actions Supporting Weather-Related Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation in Finland
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133661 - 03 Jul 2019
Abstract
Climate change adaptation (CCA) policies require scientific input to focus on relevant risks and opportunities, to promote effective and efficient measures and ensure implementation. This calls for policy relevant research to formulate salient policy recommendations. This article examines how CCA research may contribute [...] Read more.
Climate change adaptation (CCA) policies require scientific input to focus on relevant risks and opportunities, to promote effective and efficient measures and ensure implementation. This calls for policy relevant research to formulate salient policy recommendations. This article examines how CCA research may contribute to policy recommendations in the light of idealized set of knowledge production attributes for policy development in Finland. Using general background information on the evolution of CCA research and a case study, we specifically examine how the set of attributes have been manifested in research serving CCA and discuss how they have affected the resulting policy recommendations. We conclude that research serving CCA can be improved by more explicit reflection on the attributes that pay attention to the context of application, the methods of teamwork and a variety of participating organizations, transdisciplinarity of the research, reflexivity based on the values and labour ethos of scientists and novel forms of extended peer review. Such attributes can provide a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for knowledge production that strives to bridge the gap between research and policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Reduced Carbon Dioxide Sink and Methane Source under Extreme Drought Condition in an Alpine Peatland
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114285 - 19 Nov 2018
Abstract
Potential changes in both the intensity and frequency of extreme drought events are vital aspects of regional climate change that can alter the distribution and dynamics of water availability and subsequently affect carbon cycles at the ecosystem level. The effects of extreme drought [...] Read more.
Potential changes in both the intensity and frequency of extreme drought events are vital aspects of regional climate change that can alter the distribution and dynamics of water availability and subsequently affect carbon cycles at the ecosystem level. The effects of extreme drought events on the carbon budget of peatland in the Zoige plateau and its response mechanisms were studied using an in-field controlled experimental method. The results indicated that the peatland ecosystem of the Zoige plateau functioned as a carbon sink while under the control (CK) or extreme drought (D) treatment throughout the entire growing season. Maximum fluxes of methane (CH4) emissions and the weakest carbon sink activity from this ecosystem were in the early growth stage, the most powerful carbon sink activity was during the peak growth stage, while the absorption sink activity of carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4 was present during the senescence stage. Extreme drought reduced the gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (Re) of the peatland ecosystem by 14.5% and 12.6%, respectively (p < 0.05) and the net ability to store carbon was reduced by 11.3%. Overall, the GPP was highly sensitive to extreme drought. Moreover, extreme drought significantly reduced the CH4 fluxes of the ecosystem and even changed the peatland from a CH4 emission source to a CH4 sink. Subsequent to drought treatment, extreme drought was also shown to have a carry-over effect on the carbon budget of this ecosystem. Soil water content and soil temperature were the main driving factors of carbon budget change in the peatland of the Zoige plateau, but with the increase in soil depth, these driving forces were decreased. The findings indicated that frequent extreme drought events in the future might reduce the net carbon sink function of peatland areas, with an especially strong influence on CO2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Reliability–Resiliency–Vulnerability Approach for Drought Analysis in South Korea Using 28 GCMs
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3043; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093043 - 27 Aug 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study developed a Reliability–Resiliency–Vulnerability (R–R–V) approach that aggregates the frequency, duration, and severity of droughts estimated using the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). This approach was used to analyze the characteristics of droughts for the current (1976–2005) and the future (2010–2099) climates. [...] Read more.
This study developed a Reliability–Resiliency–Vulnerability (R–R–V) approach that aggregates the frequency, duration, and severity of droughts estimated using the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI). This approach was used to analyze the characteristics of droughts for the current (1976–2005) and the future (2010–2099) climates. The future climate data obtained from 28 general circulation models (GCMs) of Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) was divided into three general periods: Future 1: 2010–2039, Future 2: 2040–2069; and Future 3: 2070–2099. As a result, aggregation R–R–V representing water availability would increase during Future 1, and then gradually decrease until the end of the century. The frequencies of future drought events for Future 2 and Future 3 were similar to the current frequency, while the durations will be longer and the severity will be higher at most locations during Future 3. Thus, the mean of R–R–V over South Korea is expected to decrease, except for Future 1, and the spatial variability of R–R–V is expected to increase. In the end, the changes in the mean and variance of rainfall and temperature would lead to a decrease in the mean and increase in the spatial variation of sustainability in South Korea. This approach and its results can be used to establish a long-term drought strategy for regions where the risk of future drought is expected to increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle
Drought Assessment with the Community Land Model for 1951–2010 in East Asia
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2100; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062100 - 20 Jun 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Severe droughts have occurred in East Asia; however, observational hydroclimate data that covers the entire region is lacking. The objective of this study is to investigate drought assessment in East Asia. This study estimated three drought indices by generating hydroclimate variables using the [...] Read more.
Severe droughts have occurred in East Asia; however, observational hydroclimate data that covers the entire region is lacking. The objective of this study is to investigate drought assessment in East Asia. This study estimated three drought indices by generating hydroclimate variables using the Community Land Model (CLM). The results of the CLM were verified by comparison with Climatic Research Unit (CRU) data for precipitation and air temperature and the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) data for runoff. Spatial and temporal variations in three drought severity indices, including the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI), the standardized runoff index (SRI), and the Standardized Soil Moisture Index (SSMI), in East Asia were estimated using the CLM output and compared with the SPEI in the CRU. This study classified drought frequency into four classes depending on the drought severity with 5-deg gapped longitude and latitude for 1951–2010 in East Asia and found that moderately dry (D2) and severely dry (D3) drought frequency classes matched well between the CLM and CRU data. The SPEI in the CLM and CRU data showed very similar frequency magnitudes and an increasing temporal trend. The SRI and SSMI frequencies for CLM also showed an increasing temporal trend compared to the SPEI frequency trend. The results of this study show that CLM outputs are reliable for drought analysis in East Asia. Furthermore, this study suggests the possibility of CLM application to other regions to generate hydroclimate data that is otherwise insufficient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Extreme Weather Events in Agriculture: A Systematic Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2547; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092547 - 02 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Despite the increase of publications focusing on the consequences of extreme weather events (EWE) for the agricultural sector, a specific review of EWE related to agriculture is missing. This work aimed at assessing the interrelation between EWE and agriculture through a systematic quantitative [...] Read more.
Despite the increase of publications focusing on the consequences of extreme weather events (EWE) for the agricultural sector, a specific review of EWE related to agriculture is missing. This work aimed at assessing the interrelation between EWE and agriculture through a systematic quantitative review of current scientific literature. The review analysed 19 major cropping systems (cereals, legumes, viticulture, horticulture and pastures) across five continents. Documents were extracted from the Scopus database and examined with a text mining tool to appraise the trend of publications across the years, the specific EWE-related issues examined and the research gaps addressed. The results highlighted that food security and economic losses due to the EWE represent a major interest of the scientific community. Implementation of remote sensing and imagery techniques for monitoring and detecting the effects of EWE is still underdeveloped. Large research gaps still lie in the areas concerning the effects of EWE on major cash crops (grapevine and tomato) and the agronomic dynamics of EWE in developing countries. Current knowledge on the physiological dynamics regulating the responses of main crops to EWE appears to be well established, while more research is urgently needed in the fields of mitigation measures and governance systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Impact Events and Climate Change)
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