Food For Thought: Extreme Weather Statistics: “It’s Global Warming, Stupid”


Front Cover of the November 1, 2012 edition of Bloomberg Businessweek

Here is some more food for thought in the climate energy era. This time regarding statistics related to extreme weather events:

– Manitoba’s 2011 flood cost hit past the $1 billion mark.

– Hurricane Sandy is expected to cost more than US$50 billion dollars.

– According to the November 1st edition of Bloomberg Businessweek, in 2011, there were 14 US$1 billion weather disasters.

– A recent World Bank Report suggests an increase of 4C would see rapid sea level rise, heat waves that would adversely affect the world’s poorest regions. in the report.

– Hurricane Sandy and the U.S. mid-west drought this summer are on pace to rank in the most costly financial weather disasters since 1980.

– 2012 is also expected to be the second most expensive year relating to weather events, only behind 2011.

– North America has been the most effected by extreme weather catastrophes between 1980 to 2010, compared to other areas of the world, with climate change playing a role according to Munich re:

Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity. The view that weather extremes are becoming more frequent and intense in various regions due to global warming is in keeping with current scientific findings, as set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as in the special report on weather extremes and disasters (SREX). Up to now, however, the increasing losses caused by weather related natural catastrophes have been primarily driven by socio-economic factors, such as population growth, urban sprawl and increasing wealth.

The numbers speak for themselves. The numbers are damning. It’s real. It’s not going anywhere. If you think the problem is only going to get better, you are sadly mistaken. When economists like Nicholas Stern in 2006 suggest global Gross Domestic Product will fall dramatically because of changes of the earth’s climate, you know you have problems.

The question is: When we are fascinated by watching the events unfold on CNN, the Weather Channel in the States, or on CBC in Canada, why do we treat this like some movie? It’s not a movie. It’s real life with a tub of popcorn and Diet Pepsi.

“It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

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