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Resilience to extreme weather

27 November 2014

How do we reduce the impact of extreme weather today while preparing ourselves for future changes? What can we do to build our resilience?

‘Resilience to extreme weather’ investigates these, and other, key questions to help inform important decisions about adaptation and risk reduction that are being made at global, national and local levels.

We have examined people's resilience to weather- and climate-related extreme events, in particular, floods, droughts and heatwaves. We look at how improvements can be made to protect lives and livelihoods by comparing the options available and considering the fundamental building blocks for resilience.

In 2015, important international agreements will be reached on disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change. Our report will help those negotiating and implementing the new agreements to decide what action to take to most effectively build resilience.


  • Governments have a responsibility to develop and resource resilience strategies
  • Governments should act together at the international level to build resilience; sharing expertise, co-ordinating policy and pooling resources to confront common risks
  • To limit the need for costly disaster responses, more national and international funds will need to be directed to measures that build resilience to extreme weather
  • The purpose, design and implementation of policy frameworks covering climate change, disaster risk reduction and development should be aligned and consistent regarding extreme weather
  • Those who make and implement policies need to take practical measures to protect people and their assets from extreme weather.
  • The risks posed by extreme weather need to be better accounted for in the wider financial system, in order to inform valuations and investment decisions and to incentivise organisations to reduce their exposure
  • Information about extreme weather should be suitable for users’ needs. Funders should encourage collaborations and ongoing dialogue between producers and users of knowledge
  • Research to improve the understanding of risks from current weather and to model accurately future climate change impacts should be increased to provide relevant information for decision-makers, particularly at regional and local levels.

Interactive content

Resilience to extreme weather


Summary report

PDF, 1.3 MB

Additional downloads

Full report

PDF, 4.1 MB

Mapping methodology

PDF, 136.7 KB

Sample of literature reviewed for chapter 3: Defensive options

PDF, 206.3 KB

Blog posts

Read and respond to blog posts about resilience to extreme weather on our In Verba blog.

Contact us

To contact the project team please email

Working Group

The project is led by a Working Group of scientific and policy experts. Professor Georgina Mace CBE FRS is chair of the Working Group.

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Briefing event

The Royal Society is holding a briefing about the report on Wednesday 3 December - find more information and register to attend