Perspective paper on Compound Events published in Nature Climate Change

In this month's issue of Nature Climate Change, we published a Perspective on Future climate risk from compound events. We present a new definition of compound events, which has emerged from the workshop on Addressing the challenge of compound events in April 2017 at ETH Zurich. Following our definition, compound weather/climate events refer to the combination of multiple drivers and/or hazards that contributes to societal or environmental risk. Our definition aims to establish a framework for groundbreaking research on climate risk. In the Perspective, we review the current state of research on compound events and suggest ways forward. We call for a paradigm shift in climate impact analyses and recommend a bottom-up approach to study compound events. Bottom-up approaches start with a system and then identify those climate drivers that have the potential to cause large impacts on the system. This will help to identify the relevant drivers of compound events. In this way, compound events also serve as a bridge between different communities who study climate risk: Climate modelers, who provide information on the future state of the climate; impact modelers, who translate climate information into potential impacts; engineers, who build structures that need to withstand climate extremes; and statisticians, who provide tools to study complex dependencies in the tails of multivariate distributions. The workshop in Zurich in 2017 has also led to the creation of a new community at the interface of climate science, impact modeling, engineering and statistics. This emerging community will be brough together by the newly approved COST Action DAMOCLES. DAMOCLES will coordinate European research activities related to compound events that have been outlined in the Perspective over a period of four years. Reference: Zscheischler, J., Westra, S., van den Hurk, B. J. J. M., Seneviratne, S. I., Ward, P. J., Pitman, A., AghaKouchak, A., Bresch, D. N., Leonard, M., Wahl, T. and Zhang, X. (2018): Future climate risk from compound events, Nature Climate Change, 8, 469–477, doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0156-3, 2018.