Watch Out! Oops! Too Late.


In the last month, we have had severe weather events in the U.S., the Caribbean, South Asia, Europe and Africa.  These include the devastating hurricanes of Harvey and Irma; the massive monsoon floods in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India; and the massive landslide in Sierra Leone.  The death toll has climbed into the thousands,while millions have been displaced and have suffered loss of homes, possessions and livelihoods.

My heart is sorrowful for such great loss and suffering and yet with much sadness, I am not at all surprised by it all.  In fact, I totally expect to see this happen with increasing frequency.  Folks, in all seriousness, it is too late to still be debating about climate change.  It’s effects and it’s impacts which have long been predicted and expected by scientists are already evident in the present.

The flooding experienced by Houston due to Harvey was said to be a 500 year event.  That is to say that based on historical data, statisticians and hydrologists expect that a flood of such level and size would only occur on average once in 500 years.  But in fact, Houston has had two other massive floods making it three such 500 year events in the last three years.  The likelihood of such a string of floods would be once in 250 million years.  While the statistic estimation may be flawed, it cannot be denied that such an event would be expected to be extremely, extremely, extremely rare.  However, climate change models have predicted that what might once have been a 500 year event may now occur as frequently as once every 20 years.

The insurance industry has certainly taken notice as they have been struggling to cope with insurance claims from the increasingly frequent and increasingly costly extreme weather events.  Here are some graphs to illustrate the point.

climate disasters1

In the graph above, we can see that the number of climate related disasters worldwide has increased substantially.   Since 2000, such events have occurred about 14 times more frequently than they did in 1950.  Economic damage in 1950 was negligible but in 2012 peaked at about 370 billion USD.

 

climate disasters 2

This second graph shows the number of extreme weather events that have inflicted more than 1 billion USD worth of damages according to decades.  That’s 72 such costly events in the 1990’s when compared to just 13 in the 1950’s.

climate disasters 3

Finally, this last graph shows the top 10 costliest hurricanes to impact the USA.  9 of these 10 hurricanes have been since the year 2000.  The costliest being Katrina at USD 62.2 billion.  But wait, this table has to be updated because it did not include our most recent hurricanes of Harvey and Irma which have estimated economic costs of USD 180 billion and 100 billion respectively.

Folks…….I think we are all in deep doo-doo.  Depressed and pessimistic squirrel  signing off.

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6 thoughts on “Watch Out! Oops! Too Late.”

  1. Carol,
    Thanks for the pep talk. You are right. Now that we are in the doo-doo, we have to keep up our efforts. Too late to avoid the impact of climate change but can still take action to limit or reduce the damage. But governments need to work together like they did with the ozone depletion issue. Still, an important step is to acknowledge the problem. Sadly, many including leaders still do not.

  2. Preaching to the choir here Calvin. I read that if we do not reduce 02 levels back to a max of 402 ppm within 3 years it is too late and the planets organic systems of conversion back to O will be fully overwhelmed.

    *sigh* Life with Oxygen tanks but only for them who can afford the costs. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH HUMANITY?

  3. In my home country they do a good job me thinks 🙂 but lots of the bigger countries don’t seem to care and put their heads in the sand. Maybe they will wake up when that sand fills up with water

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