Briefly

Stuff that matters

preemptive measures

Erich Schlegel / Getty Images News

Science gives first responders a leg up on catastrophes.

The Red Cross is working with meteorologists and academics to better understand how climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events. The hope is that this will help them get the goods and people in place ahead of time in order to minimize the loss of life, rather than just providing aid post-disaster.

“Forecast based financing” would funnel funds to disaster preparedness efforts in the places most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “This finance gets triggered when a forecast of a potential extreme event is issued, and automatically activates measures before the impacts are felt,” Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center, told Inside Climate News.

The ability to model extreme weather and link disasters to climate change has been gaining steam. We can now measure how much human-induced climate change is making naturally occurring weather events more frequent or drastic. Last year, two independent studies found that Hurricane Harvey’s unprecedented rains had been boosted by climate change, with one study estimating precipitation was up to 40 percent higher than it would have been without global warming.