Quantcast

Weather Disasters Caused Nearly 2 Million Deaths, Cost $2.4 Trillion Since 1970

Climate

A new report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) details some of the worst historical results of climate change—death and trillions in economic losses.

According to the WMO's report, 8,835 climate- and weather-related events took place from 1970 to 2012, ranging from droughts and floods to cyclones and heatwaves. Collectively, they caused 1.94 million deaths, with their aftermaths costing about $2.4 trillion.

Graphic credit: World Meteorological Organization

The report contains a series of maps that break down deaths and dollars spent on recovery by continent.

Graphic credit: World Meteorological Organization

"Both industrialized and non-industrialized countries are bearing the burden of repeated floods, droughts, temperature extremes and storms," reads the report's foreword, co-written by WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud and Debarati Guha Sapir, director of the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) and a professor at the University of Louvain School of Public Health.

"The escalating impact of disasters is due not only to their increasing frequency and severity, but also to the growing vulnerability of human societies, especially those surviving on the margins of development."

Read page 1

In addition to encouraging policies that address climate change, Sapir and Jarraud also hope the report encourages stronger efforts to collect and report extreme weather-related data. The current lack of systematic reporting is why they caution that data could be even worse than their findings.

“Many countries do not systematically record disaster losses and damage, or if they do, there’s not a standardized way of doing it," Jochen Luther, an analyst with WMO’s disaster risk reduction program, told Climate Central.

Floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, storms, wildfires and landslides are the report's primary focus, and each has increased across the globe since 1970. Luther said plenty of factors have figured into the increases. No one prevailing factor explains extreme weather on all continents, but floods seem to be most common, according to the report.

“Everywhere, there is a lot of development going on and population growth going on in hazard-prone areas, especially coastal areas that are very much affected by sea level rise and in addition to that, storm surges, tropical cyclones, extratropical storms,” Luther said.

Graphic credit: World Meteorological Organization

While Luther lauded meteorological services introduced in the 11 years since heat waves in Europe led to the highest proportion of deaths, he said the WMO hopes to collaborate with national meteorological services around the world to create seamless climate and weather forecasts.

The WMO and its 191 members have developed several projects to collect the data found in the report. They include the WMO Integrated Global Observing and Information systems. The World Meteorological Centers and Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers are among the entities that provide weather and climate analyses, warnings, forecasts and other information services through WMO systems every day.

"The Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2012) is a first step by the new partnership of WMO and CRED to engage their respective national and global networks in improving national disaster loss and damage databases by linking them to the hazard information collected by WMO and its members," according to the report.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Europe is bracing for a second heat wave in less than a month. TropicalTidbits.com

Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.

Read More Show Less
Modern agricultural greenhouses in the Netherlands use LED lights to support plant growth. GAPS / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Kevin M. Folta

A nighttime arrival at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport flies you over the bright pink glow of vegetable production greenhouses. Growing crops under artificial light is gaining momentum, particularly in regions where produce prices can be high during seasons when sunlight is sparse.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
On Oct. 4, 2017, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing on Wehrum's nomination. EPA / YouTube screenshot

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) former head of the Office of Air and Radiation who was instrumental in drafting policies that eased climate protection rules and pollution standards is under investigation by a federal watchdog for his dealings with the fossil fuel industry he was supposed to be regulating, according to the New York Times.

Read More Show Less

It's no secret that the Trump administration has championed fossil fuels and scoffed at renewable energy. But the Trump administration is trying to keep something secret: the climate crisis. That's according to a new analysis from the watchdog group Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) who found that more than a quarter of the references to climate change on .gov websites vanished.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

New York is officially the first state in the union to ban cat declawing.

Read More Show Less
People walk in the Shaw neighborhood on July 20 in Washington, DC, where an excessive heat warning was in effect according to the NWS. Alex Wroblewski / Getty Images

By Adrienne Hollis

Climate change is a threat multiplier. This is a fact I know to be true. I also know that our most vulnerable populations, particularly environmental justice communities — people of color and/or low socioeconomic status — are suffering and will continue to suffer first and worst from the adverse effects of climate change. Case in point? Extreme heat.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).

Read More Show Less