What are hydrometeorological hazards?

First let’s dissect the words and explain their definition:

  • Hydrometeorology: it’s a branch of meteorology and hydrology that studies the transfer of water and energy between the land surface and the lower atmosphere. 
  • Hazard: any source that can cause harm or damage to humans, property or the environment. 

Hazard and risk are often used intertwined, but they are in fact different. Risk is defined as the probability that exposure to a hazard will lead to a negative consequence.

Definition hydrometeorological hazards

When you look up the definition of hydrometeorological hazards you will find: “Process or phenomenon of atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic nature that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage”.

The hazards you can think of are tropical cyclones (typhoons and hurricanes), thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornados, blizzards, heavy snowfall, avalanches, coastal storm surges, floods including flash floods, drought, heatwaves and cold spells. 

Extreme weather

Due to global warming climate change these natural hazards are expected to increase. These extreme weather events have a high impact on the world. According to Unesco these three hydrometeorological hazards have one of the highest impacts:

  • Floods: they affect every country, and cause more fatalities and more property damage than any other type of hazard. Not only does it cause injuries and deaths, floods can disrupt water purification and sewage disposal systems, and can cause toxic water waste sited to overflow. 
  • Hurricanes, cyclone and typhoons: these are severe storms that form over tropical water. Windstorm-related events worldwide cause an average of 30,000 deaths and US$2.3 billion in damage each year.
  • Droughts: while floods and storms are often sudden, droughts are slow events that can cause large agro-ecological damage and seriously disrupt socio-economic life. 


What can we do?

The OPERANDUM project aims to offer sustainable solutions that cope with climate change mitigation and adaptation challenges. We do this with the help of Nature Based Solutions.