January 24, 2018

Last year's weather caused over $300 billion in damages

NPR-A team at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration assesses each year's weather and climate. They note that 2017 is the 21st year in a row in which the average annual temperature was warmer than the average over the 20th century. And the five warmest years for the lower 48 states have all occurred since 2006.

NOAA researcher Adam Smith says the cost of these events was unprecedented. "The cumulative impact of [last year's] events exceeds $300 billion in damage," Smith says, "which is a new U.S. annual record." And having 16 billion-dollar events in one year has only happened once before, in 2011.

NOAA's assessment acknowledges that part of the rising disaster toll is due to people building more homes and businesses in vulnerable places. That's especially true with recent losses from wildfires and hurricanes. But Arndt notes that a warmer world clearly makes some weather worse. "Heat waves, their duration, their intensity, their frequency is going up," he says, as is the frequency of very heavy rainfalls.

1 comment:

greg gerritt said...

The new normal. It is time to stop building any new fossil fuel infrastructure and to speed up the phase out of the existing facilities.