Compound events, such as floods, heat waves, wildfires, and air pollution, are extreme weather events with  multiple causes or effects. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that such events may become more frequent because of climate change. Project DAMOCLES, is a Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action, which aims to understand and model these events and their impacts on society and the environment.

DAMOCLES scientific results are a key reference for studying and assessing compound events and associated risks posing serious challenges to modern society. A key achievement of DAMOCLES is the development of a typology for categorising different compound events to improve our understanding of them.

A paper titled ‘A typology of compound weather and climate events’, was published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment in 2020. This has been followed up with Guidelines for Studying Diverse Types of Compound Weather and Climate Events and, most recently with Consideration of compound drivers and impacts in the disaster risk reduction cycle.

This latest publication explains how compound events are combinations of multiple hazards or drivers that lead to high-impact events and can affect different applications within the disaster risk reduction cycle. The research has identified five key application domains: early warning systems and forecasting, emergency response and civil protection, infrastructure risk management, spatial planning and infrastructure design, and capacity building. The paper discusses the challenges and opportunities of incorporating compound thinking in disaster risk management and suggests ways to improve the monitoring, modelling, and interpretation of compound events.


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