International Code Council Feature Presentation

Climate Change & Extreme Weather: What's Going On and How Might Building Codes Be Affected?

The extreme weather that has been experienced in the United States and around the world have millions of people wondering "What is going on with the weather?" Changes are occurring in the climate system globally and these changes are affecting our weather patterns.

In 2011 alone, the US experienced a record 14 disasters of $1 Billion or more in damages. Since 1980 the US has sustained 134 weather/climate disasters that exceeded $1 Billion each. The total standardized losses for the 134 events exceeds $880 Billion. More frequent and intense droughts, heat waves, storms and flooding events are exposing more and more people and property to risk and make them more vulnerable to adverse impacts and economic losses. Extreme events will also affect human health and other sectors such as agriculture, transportation, energy, water and ecosystems.

Recently the mayor of New York released a master plan for climate change adaptation in New York. It is called "A Stronger, More Resilient New York." The report claims to lay out a comprehensive plan for rebuilding the communities impacted by Sandy while increasing the resilience of infrastructure and buildings citywide. This is one of many reports, studies and implementation plans that will be produced by many cities across the nation and around the world because impacts are being felt in our communities as a result of a changing climate.

On September 30, 2013, Dave presented the science behind the changes through an interactive technology called the Envirocast® Vision™ TouchTable during the International Code Council Members Luncheon at the Annual ICC Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His invited presentation on climate change, extreme weather conditions, and how it all ties in with construction codes was timely for those ICC Members who come from areas that were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, or the recent Colorado floods, and who have seen (or will see) the impact of weather-related natural disasters on the built environment. Dave transported the audience around the world on a virtual tour of changes that are happening and why it matters to us. He discussed why following developments in Greenland matter to us living on the East coast and why Arctic Sea Ice might have something to do with our weather patterns. He also talked about and the exciting new initiative and mission of the National Weather Service to Build a Weather Ready Nation. Dave tied these important climate changes and preparedness missions to the importance of setting the codes that build the public safety in the built environment.

Below are several pictures taken during Dave's presentation in the Atlantic City Convention Center. Clicking on each picture will display it full screen.