As the effects of climate change gradually become more pronounced, they appear to be leading to more severe weather incidents, placing more emphasis on the role of disaster recovery at businesses of all sizes — from the Mom-and-Pop restaurant, all the way to multinational enterprises.
While normal climatic cycles continue to play a role in the timing and frequency of severe weather events, more and more scientific evidence points to human influences contributing to their overall severity, according to a report published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Whatever the causes for increased extreme weather, there remains little doubt that businesses need to pay close attention to their disaster recovery plan; ensuring it is able to allow speedy reaction to weather events, and minimizing their adverse effects on the organization as a whole.
2012 Weather Events Impacted by Climate Change
The AMS report tries to determine the effect humans bring to the climate change equation. Thomas R. Karl, L.H.D, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) commented on this challenge. “This report adds to a growing ability of climate science to untangle the complexities of understanding natural and human-induced factors contributing to specific extreme weather and climate events. Nonetheless, determining the causes of extreme events remains challenging,” said Karl.
Heat waves occurring with increased frequency, like the one that affected the U.S. in the summer of 2012, is one weather phenomenon the AMS report feels is impacted by climate change. “High temperatures, such as those experienced in the U.S. in 2012 are now likely to occur four times as frequently due to human-induced climate change, ” the report stated. The AMS study continued, “approximately 35 percent of the extreme warmth experienced in the eastern U.S. between March and May 2012 can be attributed to human-induced climate change.”
Climate Change Places Emphasis on Quality Disaster Recovery Plans
While heat waves are uncomfortable and lead to the additional use of air conditioning — probably causing higher utility bills — they normally aren’t the type of severe weather events that call a business’s disaster recovery plan into action. An incident like Superstorm Sandy, on the other hand, is exactly that kind of extreme weather. Increased sea levels, caused by climate change, make another Sandy a more likely event.
The AMS report notes this possibility: “Ongoing natural and human-induced forcing of sea level ensures that Sandy-level inundation events will occur more frequently in the future from storms with less intensity and lower storm surge than Sandy.” Businesses located near the ocean or other areas impacted by storm surge need to pay close attention during hurricane season.
Whatever their underlying causes, extreme weather events appear to be on the rise. It is vital for businesses to take preventative measures for future calamities by investing the time and resources into authoring — and practicing — a well-rounded disaster recovery plan. The survival of the business in the event of a disaster may depend on it.
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