Global Death Risk – Extreme Weather

Global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years!

Global death risk from extreme weather has declined 99% over 100 years

Trends in landfalling hurricanes have been down, not up!

Key West, Florida, Hurricane, Dennis, Weather
Florida Keys Hurricane Dennis 2005

Photo Source: Pixabay

Bjorn Lomborg has written an important peer reviewed study of the effects of our changing weather and climate. It has many important facts about climate change and what it really means.

Bjorn points out that extreme weather events of all types are down, not up, world wide. This is according to the often-cited U.N. IPCC study of climate. Unfortunately, this IPCC study is often misquoted or data is cherry picked for political agendas.

Bjorn also looks closely at the facts and says “Climate change is real, and its impacts are mostly negative, but common portrayals of devastation are unfounded. Scenarios set out under the UN Climate Panel (IPCC) show human welfare will likely increase to 450% of today’s welfare over the 21st century. Climate damages will reduce this welfare increase to 434%.”

That is just a 3.55% reduction in overall economic progress and regular people’s welfare over the next 80 years. This isn’t very much. Interesting study.

Back to hurricanes and death risk. According to the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center the number of hurricanes that make land fall has declined in recent decades. There are fewer hurricanes then we used to have. The fewer hurricanes that we do have, have a bit more intensity. Meaning they dump a bit more water and have higher winds.

These trends apply to typhons and tropical storms as well. That’s a topic for another time.

Hurricane landing United States
Losses from Hurricanes

Source of these graphs.

You can read more from a study published in the American Meteorological Society Journal. This study shows facts regarding numbers and intensity of hurricanes and their damages.

Hurricanes damage more now because there is more to damage. For instance, Miami and Florida have far more to damage now than 50 years ago. More people, more buildings, more cars, just more. Florida’s population has grown from 6.8 million in 1970 to 21.5 million now. There is 3 times more people in Florida now. Yet lives lost is way down.

In Florida, cost of a home in 1970: $94,669, in 2017: $214,000, an increase of 126%. This means that any damage will result in at least double the loss. Couple this with more than triple the number of people. There is just a lot more to lose in terms of property and lives. Yet, loss of life is down dramatically. The world is getting better and better.

Back to big bad hurricanes.

More information on hurricanes from the Insurance Information Institute.

Only 3 of 11 monster hurricanes are after 1950

Table from Dr. Klotzbach. Dr. Phil Klotzbach is a research scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University where he has been for the past 17 years.

These graphs show that the fact is that there has not been an increase in hurricanes in the last decades.