Extreme Weather Impacts Accelerating

January 18, 2014

WeatherUnderground:

Earth set a new record for billion-dollar weather disasters in 2013 with 41, said insurance broker Aon Benfield in their Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report issued this week. Despite the record number of billion-dollar disasters, weather-related natural disaster losses (excluding earthquakes) were only slightly above average in 2013, and well below what occurred in 2012. That’s because 2013 lacked a U.S. mega-disaster like Hurricane Sandy ($65 billion in damage) or the 2012 drought ($30 billion in damage.) The most expensive global disaster of 2013 was the June flood in Central Europe, which cost $22 billion. The deadliest disaster was Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed about 8,000 people in the Philippines. Six countries set records for most expensive weather-related disaster in their history, as tabulated by EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, and adjusted for inflation:

Germany, June flooding, $16 billion. Previous record: $15 billion in damage from the August 2002 Elbe River floods.
Philippines, Super Typhoon Haiyan, $13 billion. Previous record: $2.2 billion, August 2013 floods near Manila.
Austria, June flooding, $4 billion. Previous record: $3.1 billion in damage from the August 2002 floods.
Czech Republic, June flooding, $1.5 billion. Previous record: $0.3 billion in damage from the August 2002 floods.
New Zealand, Jan – May Drought, $1.6 billion. Previous record: $0.3 billion, January 2001 heat wave.
Cambodia, Oct – Nov floods, $1 billion. Previous record: $0.5 billion, August 2011 flood.

Many, many examples at the link above.

Bloomberg:

Volatile weather around the world is taking farmers on a wild ride.

Too much rain in northern China damaged crops in May, three years after too little rain turned the world’s second-biggest corn producer into a net importer of the grain. Dry weather in the U.S. will cut beef output from the world’s biggest producer to the lowest level since 1994, following 2013’s bumper corn crop, which pushed America’s inventory up 30 percent. U.K. farmers couldn’t plant in muddy fields after the second-wettest year on record in 2012 dented the nation’s wheat production.

“Extreme weather events are a massive risk to agriculture,” said Peter Kendall, president of the U.K. National Farmers Union, who raises 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of grain crops in Bedfordshire, England. “Farmers can adapt to gradual temperature increases, but extreme weather events have the potential to completely undermine production. It could be drought, it could be too much rain, it could be extreme heat at the wrong time. It’s the extreme that does the damage.”

Farm ministers from around the world are gathering in Berlin tomorrow to discuss climate change and food production at an annual agricultural forum, with a joint statement planned after the meeting.
-

“There’s no question, while there’s variability and volatility from year to year, the number and the cost of catastrophic weather events is on the rise, not just in the U.S., but on a global scale,” said Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the insurance institute. “It’s all but certain that the size and the magnitude and the frequency of disaster losses in the future is going to be larger than what we see today.”

The number of weather events and earthquakes resulting in insured losses climbed last year to 880, 40 percent higher than the average of the last 30 years, according to Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer.

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19 Responses to “Extreme Weather Impacts Accelerating”


  1. Please show the inflation and population adjusted charts.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      the article states ” Six countries set records for most expensive weather-related disaster in their history, as tabulated by EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database, and adjusted for inflation:”

  2. jsam Says:

    Reblogged this on Gra Machree and commented:
    More UK flooding isn’t out of character.

  3. peterbatt Says:

    Reblogged this on Peter Batt and commented:
    If any sector of the economy is going to track the increasing overall costs of climate change, then it’s the insurance industry.

  4. fortranprog Says:

    There are still people who tell me how fossil fuel exploitation is benefiting the poor, apologies but I include a recent quote from my least liked climate related blog, where I was suggesting a move away from fossil burning (JUDITH!!).

    “Do you “wholeheartedly support move off fossil fuels” if:

    – doing so would cause greater hardship across the world, especially for the poorest people?

    – without a high probability that doing so would deliver meaurable benefits?”

    Insurance figures are only part of the hidden expense, health is another area, heat related disease, flood spread disease, many many increasing additional health risks, and who are most vulnerable ? do have have health-care, health insurance, that will reflect in statistics ?? Someone tell me who are these poor people (across the world) who are benefiting ???

    Koch bros. ?

    • fortranprog Says:

      Just in addition to that thought – a staggering 1.4 billion (mostly if not all poor) people worldwide do not have access to a power grid of any sort. That is around 20% of the total world’s population. How are we going to supply these people ? or at least the ones not affected by sea level rise and crop failures in the not so far future.

  5. Cy Halothrin Says:

    It’s a bit of a distortion to measure disasters simply in dollars. Hurricane Sandy in 2012 caused $65 billion in losses because it hit the highly populated and very wealthy New York City region, but the death toll was “only” 265 persons. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines causing over 8000 deaths and $13 billion in economic losses. Clearly, Haiyan was a much bigger disaster, but the Philippines is poor so it looks like a relatively small loss to accountants.

    On some of the climate denier blogs I’ve followed, there was actually a lot of cheering at how 2013 “proves that AGW is a hoax because there were no big hurricanes this year.” These blogs are mostly US-based (some in the UK too), and since there were no major hurricanes in their country, that’s all they needed to know. The world’s most powerful and deadly typhoon in history hit the Philippines but it doesn’t count because it’s not America.

    And do the illiterati even know that a “typhoon” and a “hurricane” are the same thing?

  6. neilrieck Says:

    I forget where I saw this, but some climate scientists and some meteorologists are now describing modern weather incidents as “hit-and-run”. You can see this recently in Canada where the polar vortex delivered record low temps to most provinces, then a week later warm winds brought unusually warm (for January) temperatures. Last month, power losses throughout Ontario (especially Toronto) reminded me of things I heard (damage-wise) when Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey in October 2012.

  7. indy222 Says:

    These weather-related disaster figures are corrected for inflation, but I don’t see if they’re corrected for population rise. I believe Roger Pielke did a study a while back and claimed that when corrected for population expansion, the weather-related disaster trend is ~flat. I have not looked into whether that particular study of his is flawed or not. Can anyone comment?

    • omnologos Says:

      there’s more than that…the graph shows BILLION DOLLAR disasters, but the text says “weather-related natural disaster losses (excluding earthquakes) were only slightly above average in 2013, and well below what occurred in 2012“.

      This means the (total per year) weather-related losses are still going nowhere, and humanity is getting much better at dealing with the smaller “extreme” events.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      I’ll be doing something on Pielke.
      first answer is that companies like Big Insurer Munich re, which has been pricing climate change into its services since the 70s would be out of business, or will be shortly if they are wrong about climate, see todays post.
      Presumably, someone like Pielke could earn a lot more money as a consultant to insurance companies than as a measly college professor, if he could show them that they are wrong to worry about climate.
      Obviously, he knows where he can sell his products, and where he can’t.

      • omnologos Says:

        This is a lame argument. Apart from the joint work already done by Pielke jr and Munich Re, Berkshire Hathaway has virtually ignored climate change but General Re is still going strong.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    […] Extreme Weather Impacts Accelerating | Climate Denial Crock of the Week Bloomberg: Volatile weather around the world is taking farmers on a wild ride. Too much rain in northern China damaged crops in May, three years after too little rain turned the world’s second-biggest corn producer into a net importer of the grain. Dry weather in the U.S. will cut beef output from the world’s biggest producer to the lowest level since 1994, following 2013’s bumper corn crop, which pushed America’s inventory up 30 percent. U.K. farmers couldn’t plant in muddy fields after the second-wettest year on record in 2012 dented the nation’s wheat production. “Extreme weather events are a massive risk to agriculture,” said Peter Kendall, president of the U.K. National Farmers Union, who raises 1,600 hectares (3,953 acres) of grain crops in Bedfordshire, England. “Farmers can adapt to gradual temperature increases, but extreme weather events have the potential to completely undermine production. It could be drought, it could be too much rain, it could be extreme heat at the wrong time. It’s the extreme that does the damage.” Farm ministers from around the world are gathering in Berlin tomorrow to discuss climate change and food production at an annual agricultural forum, with a joint statement planned after the meeting. […]


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