Sunday, 8 February 2009

Extreme weather events

The scientific data are clear: the exponential increase of extreme weather events, compared to earthquakes, is due to human-caused climate change -- even after making allowances for improved natural disaster reporting.
graphs courtesy of UNEP / GRID-Arendal

A 2004 study by SwissRE forecast yearly losses due to climate change will soon reach $150 billion. With costs skyrocketing, it should be no surprise that multinational insurance companies are leading the movement to climate change awareness and green capitalism -- or that homeowners at risk of coastal flooding are discovering no company will insure them.

Some examples:

2003 - heatwave in Europe leaves 10,000 dead; record heat in Southern USA
2004 - freak snowstorm in Southern USA
2005 - hurricane Katrina, W. India floods, hottest northern summer ever
2006 - deadly cold across Europe and Russia, killer typhoons and floods in Ethiopia, Pakistan, India, Thailand, N. Korea; heatwave deaths in USA
2007 - killer heatwave in Japan
2008 - California & Australia wildfires, increase in Atlantic hurricanes, Southeast USA drought
2009 - Australia wildfires, N. China drought, floods and snow in southern France, cold wave in Europe

See Wikipedia on extreme weather, UNEP / GRID-Arendal discussion of its costs.

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