Damage from weather-related disasters is in sharp decline, according to data compiled by University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr.
The chart indicates that the cost of weather-related disasters as a proportion of the global economy is declining. Data for the chart comes from the the reinsurance company Munich Re, the United Nations and Pielke’s own research.
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) January 4, 2017
Damage from weather events in 2015 was much less costly than expected, according to a study by an insurance industry group.
Severe winter weather has caused most insurance industry losses in recent years. Global warming and El Niño — a weather event that warms up ocean temperatures in South America, causing the United states to get unusually warm for a year — abated these insurance costs, according to Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.
Historically, hurricanes are the insurance industry’s biggest weather-related expense, but no hurricane made landfall in the U.S. during 2015. Additionally, no major hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. in the last decade, setting a new record. Scientists, however, expect global warming will lead to fewer, but slightly stronger, hurricanes.
Deaths from natural disasters and weather also dropped significantly, according to the study and other sources. Natural disasters claimed 280 lives in the U.S. in 2015 and 270 lives in 2014, which is dramatically below the 30-year annual average of 580 deaths.
Even the rate of heat-related deaths has declined in the U.S. Global warming will likely decrease the rate of heat deaths in developed countries, not cause more. New United Nations data shows deaths from natural disasters declined by 70 percent in 2015 relative to the average number of deaths of the previous 10 years. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reported the number of people affected by natural disasters fell 43 percent when compared to the previous 10-year average.
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