Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019)

Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970-2019) was released on September 1, 2021.

Key Findings

  • According to the atlas, developed nations incurred the bulk of $3.6tn in economic losses because of severe weather events in past five decades.
  • High death tolls in poorer countries have been partly reduced by better evacuation.
  • According to scientists of UN’s world meteorological organisation, in past 50 years, number of weather-related disasters had increased fivefold across the globe.
  • In this period, death toll of 115 people and more than $200m was lost every day. The death toll was the result of climate change, more extreme weather and improved reporting.
  • In this period, total losses amounted to $3.6tn and 2m deaths.
  • For instance, estimated cost of Hurricane Ida, fifth-largest hurricane to make landfall in US, could be about $80bn.
  • Three out of 10 world’s costliest disasters occurred in 2017 alone namely- hurricanes Harvey (cost-$96.9bn), Maria (cost-$69.4bn) and Irma (cost-$58.2bn).

Wider economic cost

As per catastrophe and risk modelling group AIR, wider economic cost comprises of an estimated hit to insurers of between $17bn and $25bn. This will cover the damage from wind & storm surge and it will pay out to repair cars, residential property, commercial as well as industrial property. However, it does not include insurance claims that will come from the heavy rains and flooding caused by Ida.

What has led to increase in frequency of extreme weather events?

Frequency and severity of extreme weather events, including wildfires, across southern Europe, Siberia & the US and flooding in northern Europe, has increased due to global warming.

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