Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds

Forget the future. The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to a new report from the World Meteorological Organisation.

The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves. That was nearly five times as many disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s – and all of those weather events are influenced by climate change.

The bottom line: natural disasters are occurring nearly five times as often as they were in the 1970s. But some disasters – such as floods and storms – pose a bigger threat than others. Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves are an emerging killer.

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Key: Dark blue = floods. Light blue = mass movement wet. 
Green = storms. Yellow = drought. Magenta = extreme temperature. 
Orange = Wildfires Photograph: /WMO

Read the Guardian article here

Disasters caused by weather-, climate- and water-related hazards are on the rise worldwide Both industrialized and non-industrialized countries are bearing the burden of repeated floods, droughts, temperature extremes and storms The escalating impact of disasters is due not only to their increasing frequency and severity but also to the growing vulnerability of human societies, especially those surviving on the margins of development.

Read the World Meteorological Organization Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970 – 2012) here.

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