2011 the most expensive year for natural disasters in history

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:42 PM GMT on July 14, 2011

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An exceptional accumulation of very severe natural catastrophes, including earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand, tornadoes and flooding in the U.S., and flooding in Australia and New Zealand, make 2011 the highest-ever loss year on record, even after the first half-year, said re-insurance giant Munich Re in a press release this week. The $265 billion in economic losses accumulated this year exceeds the previous record year, 2005, which had $220 billion in damage (mostly due to $125 billion in damage from Hurricane Katrina.) Unlike 2005, this year's losses have been headlined by two huge earthquakes--the March 11 quake in Japan ($210 billion) and the February 22 quake in New Zealand ($20 billion.) But with the Northern Hemisphere's hurricane season just beginning, this year's record losses may see a significant boost from hurricanes.


Figure 1. Stunned survivors survey the destruction left by the EF-4 Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado of April. With a price tag estimated at $2 billion, this was the single most expensive tornado of all-time. The record stood only three weeks, being surpassed by the $3 billion in damage from the Joplin Missouri, tornado. The two tornado outbreaks that spawned these tornadoes rank as the globe's 3rd and 5th most destructive natural disasters so far this year. Image from an anonmous posting to Twitter.

Climate change and damage from weather-related disasters
In an interview with MSNBC, Peter Hoppe, who runs Munich Re's Geo Risks Research/Corporate Climate Center, said that while the damage trend for earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions is fairly stable, damage from severe weather events is on the upswing, even after factoring in increases in population and wealth. He cited natural events such as La Niña and El Niño as factors in some of the damaging weather events, but added that warming temperatures appear to be adding a layer "on top" of that natural variability. In particular, he noted that the floods this January in Australia--that nation's most expensive natural disaster of all time--occurred when ocean temperatures off the coast were at record warm levels. That meant "more evaporation and higher potential for these extreme downpours", and "it can only be explained by global warming."


Figure 2. The five most expensive natural disasters of 2011, as estimated by Munich Re.

However, the there is a lot of controversy on whether economic losses due to weather-related disasters is increasing due to climate change. A 2010 paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society by Netherlands researcher Laurens Bouwer titled, "Have disaster losses increased due to anthropogenic climate change?", looked at 22 disaster loss studies in various parts of the world. All of the studies showed an increase in damages from weather-related disasters in recent decades. The big question is, how much of this increase in damage was due to increases in population, and the fact people are getting wealthier, and thus have more stuff to get damaged? Fourteen of the 22 studies concluded that there were no trends in damage after correcting for increases in wealth and population, while eight of the studies did find upward trends even after such corrections. In all 22 studies, increases in wealth and population were the "most important drivers for growing disaster losses."

Bouwer's review of these 22 disaster loss studies was critiqued this year by Neville Nicholls of the School of Geography and Environmental Science of Montash University, Australia. His analysis, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, notes that Bouwer's study of damage losses did not include the impact of improvements in building codes and weather forecasting. We can expect both factors to have significantly reduced damages due to storms in recent years. Nicholls concludes, "The absence of an upward trend in normalized losses may be due to a balance between reduced vulnerability (from improved weather forecasting and building techniques) and increased frequency or intensity of weather hazards." In his reply to Nicholls' comments, Bouwer states that Nicholls "provides no support that these factors have actually contributed to a substantial reduction in losses over the period of the last decades."

Jeff Masters

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Trofiness


..Do it if ya wanna..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
EUROSIP came out...

Looks pretty interesting.


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XX/AOI/XL
MARK
8.58N45.84W
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Quoting Patrap:
Boomage outside Big time tkeith,, aiii-eeeee!!!



grats on your rain! We've been lucky enough to get at least a light rain every day or so recently.
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Quoting Minnemike:
first of all, that is not a dollar based figure like Dr. M's post is about, and second, it's JULY!!! look at that again and think about that... what do you think is likely to happen in the next 5.5 months? the bar for 2011 goes down, stays the same, or goes up?


all those bars are for half way through the year, so we don't know how it will compare??
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Boomage outside Big time tkeith,, aiii-eeeee!!!

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Quoting ILwthrfan:


Levi, I know you said that the odds for it coming a CAT 5 are lower than the odds that it doesn't, but once he gets that core set, whats to keep him from rocketing off? It still has till Sunday PM being over those waters of deep 85 . Is sheer going to increase as it turns north? Or are the SST's there just to low to sustain a CAT 4? I would think 82-84 SST would be able to sustain even a CAT 5, if the upper level conditions are ideal. Or are the mountains of Japan being incorporated into the forcast has it nears the coast? I have a hard time seeing a well organized high CAT 4 dropping to a 2 that fast unless something else is attributing to its weakening?

The the thing that worries me on this is that once that core gets established its going ot be able to sustain its own atmosphere over itself and ingore the possible draw-backs to it strengthening or maintaining itself. It will take more time to break down a cyclone that is highly organized than one that is struggling.

Appreciate the feedback!


Its opportunity to strengthen will be when it is rounding the SW periphery of the high that is steering it. Once it starts moving NNW and north though, it will be affected by increased wind shear, and thus associated dry air issues again as well. This is why the JTWC forecasts weakening. While the western Pacific is known for producing supertyphoons and Cat 5s fairly fast at times, between the issues Ma-on is dealing with now, and the only short window for decent strengthening he will have later before encountering unfavorable conditions again, I don't see a Cat 5 out of this one. Even Cat 4 may be difficult, though I think he has a better chance of attaining that.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
thanks i am ok , only a typo
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310 Grothar "Boy, is it hot here today in Ft Lauderdale."
351 aspectre "HOW HOT IS IT ?"
354 Grothar "Hey, this isn't Johnny Carson you know.

Bad timing for a joke. Deleted&replaced comment351 with the sobering topic preceding it.
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Quoting aburttschell:





Man has inhabited the earth for over 100,000 years. Just 900 years ago the earth was much hotter than it is now, actually compared to the last 10,000 one could make an assumption that we are gradually heading towards a new ice age.



Just because we as a species have survived, doesn't mean there weren't mass die-offs of human population. Will some of us survive whatever happens? Yep. Will most? Nope. With the mass crop failures/deforestation/etc we're experiencing, I wouldn't be surprised to see overall global population growth slow, and maybe even reverse in the coming years.

Agent Smith in the Matrix was right: Humanity is a virus that destroys its host. :P
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Currently Active Tropical Cyclones
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Quoting aburttschell:





Man has inhabited the earth for over 100,000 years. Just 900 years ago the earth was much hotter than it is now, actually compared to the last 10,000 one could make an assumption that we are gradually heading towards a new ice age.



Nice graphic on Greenland. Tell me, if you will, how much of the world's population was living on Greenland at that time?
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Ma-on





Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
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Looks like some models have Ma On missing Japan.

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Quoting txjac:



Looks good on radar ...nothing is hitting us here yet. I'm just south of I10, outside the beltway.



Good luck,,we're pushing it dat way..
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
371. txjac
Quoting Patrap:



Looks good on radar ...nothing is hitting us here yet. I'm just south of I10, outside the beltway.

Member Since: April 24, 2010 Posts: 2 Comments: 2632
Quoting Levi32:
Ma-on still looks like a struggling storm, with dry air preventing it from developing a closed eyewall, and as a result, Ma-on has probably leveled off in intensity since yesterday afternoon. Due to this dry air being in there for this long, it is now prompting an eyewall relacement cycle (EWRC), which will further disrupt Ma-on's attempts at intensification. If he can complete the EWRC, which he likely will eventually, then he will have a good shot at becoming a major typhoon down the road. This EWRC will give Ma-on the opportunity to mix out the dry air that has been plaguing his core so far, as increased lift in the outer spiral bands will aid in convective mixing and putting a moisture barrier between the edge of the storm and the eye. True intensification may still be 36 hours away.



Levi, I know you said that the odds for it coming a CAT 5 are lower than the odds that it doesn't, but once he gets that core set, whats to keep him from rocketing off? It still has till Sunday PM being over those waters of deep 85+. Is sheer going to increase as it turns north? Or are the SST's there just to low to sustain a CAT 4? I would think 82-84 SST would be able to sustain even a CAT 5, if the upper level conditions are ideal. Or are the mountains of Japan being incorporated into the forcast has it nears the coast? I have a hard time seeing a well organized high CAT 4 dropping to a 2 that fast unless something else is attributing to its weakening?

The the thing that worries me on this is that once that core gets established its going ot be able to sustain its own atmosphere over itself and ingore the possible draw-backs to it strengthening or maintaining itself. It will take more time to break down a cyclone that is highly organized than one that is struggling.

Appreciate the feedback!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:




Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Interesting points. Could humans have survived during these time periods? The debate is not about what the historical levels of CO2 were before man arrived but, rather, at what levels of CO2 can man survive now.

The planet does not need us to survive. We need this planet to survive. Is there something in this statement that you are confused about?





Man has inhabited the earth for over 100,000 years. Just 900 years ago the earth was much hotter than it is now, actually compared to the last 10,000 one could make an assumption that we are gradually heading towards a new ice age.

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Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Quoting Torgen:


Curiously enough, I found an old photo I took from my back yard in Tampa, of a Discovery launch in 2009. I was surprised I could see it from across the state, but by the time I ran inside and got the camera, the solid boosters had finished, and the wind was already working on the contrails.



I took this from 7 miles on a boat on the inter coastal waters of NASA just off the NASA parkway last week (final shuttle launch). I must say, when it comes to space shuttle launches a boat is the right way to go.
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very kittle ayyention is bpeing

you ok stoormfury?

:)
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I got carded at Minuteman Stadium during a Stro's game in Spring 08.

Dat was a special feeling again.

Ack!!!
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 428 Comments: 129916
Quoting BDAwx:


Mind you, there are some showers but its nothing compared to what I was hoping for, and they are largely hit and miss. :(


I hear what you are saying on the "hit and miss". Here, lately, your neighbor across the street can an inch of rain and everyone just gets jealous. I have seen "isolated showers" before but, this is getting ridiculous!
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very little attention is being paid to the area of disturbed weather associated with a tropical wave near 40W. there is a weak circulation near 10N 44W moving W AT 15-20 MPH.Latest ASCAT shows strong vortcity in the area albeit not vertically stacked. there strong convergence and divergence in the area. the shear is 10-20 knots at the moment, and also ahead of the disturbance but that is expected to change the next 36-48 hrs.Although there is a considerable amount of dry air to the northeast of the wave ,the system has graduaally begun to moisten the area. The apparent weak circulation can be seen on the Dvorak sat image.so far there is no model support fpr the system, that i expect to change if orgaisation continues.
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Quoting Torgen:


It's so hot the trees are bribing the dogs.
Lol!
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360. BDAwx
Quoting BDAwx:
Been watching a band of showers and thunderstorms make their way towards Bermuda all day, its been overcast and muggy as well and just as they get to the island it all falls apart. O.o We need the rain so badly! Meanwhile the western end of this front may spawn tropical activity near North Carolina later on... :) - should I smile?


Mind you, there are some showers but its nothing compared to what I was hoping for, and they are largely hit and miss. :(
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 545
Quoting aspectre:
310 Grothar "Boy, is it hot here today in Ft Lauderdale."

HOW HOT IS IT ?


It's so hot the trees are bribing the dogs.
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Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I hear what you are saying. Pat has a good idea about the AC. Like you, without the remote, I forget what the knobs on the unit are suppose to do. .... Do you still have the owner's manual? Hopefully it has an index? Look up,"Its hot outside. How to turn on the AC unit." Most likely that will be the one section that only has directions in Chinese or they only discuss how to use the remote for this operation. Have you learned any Chinese yet?

How hot is it there?



Hot, very hot. No rain all week. Very strange. And yes, I have been to Texas many times, and still go there often.
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cow and a flat rock...

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356. BDAwx
Been watching a band of showers and thunderstorms make their way towards Bermuda all day, its been overcast and muggy as well and just as they get to the island it all falls apart. O.o We need the rain so badly! Meanwhile the western end of this front may spawn tropical activity near North Carolina later on... :) - should I smile?
Member Since: August 3, 2009 Posts: 51 Comments: 545
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


You have a nice avatar. I just have never seen anyone try to measure the bait before. ;-)


Gonna stick to the weather from here on out but thanks....Had to release her cause we have a one fish/27 inch limit on Reds here in North Florida and she clocked in at 29 inches.............Let her lay some more eggs and I'll have another shot at Her (and her children) in the future.
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Quoting aspectre:
310 Grothar "Boy, is it hot here today in Ft Lauderdale."

HOW HOT IS IT ?


Hey, this isn't Johnny Carson you know.
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Ma-on still looks like a struggling storm, with dry air preventing it from developing a closed eyewall, and as a result, Ma-on has probably leveled off in intensity since yesterday afternoon. Due to this dry air being in there for this long, it is now prompting an eyewall relacement cycle (EWRC), which will further disrupt Ma-on's attempts at intensification. If he can complete the EWRC, which he likely will eventually, then he will have a good shot at becoming a major typhoon down the road. This EWRC will give Ma-on the opportunity to mix out the dry air that has been plaguing his core so far, as increased lift in the outer spiral bands will aid in convective mixing and putting a moisture barrier between the edge of the storm and the eye. True intensification may still be 36 hours away.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26701
Maybe this will help some of you feel cooler several locations up here in northern Minnesota tied or set low temperature records the last couple of days some by as much as 9 degrees but I see at will be very hot here in a few days. One thing about living here if you don.t like the weather wait till tomorrow
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Bad timing for a joke. Deleted&replaced with the sobering topic preceding my comment.

Quoting Neapolitan, "Some here have said we have more pressing concerns than the climate. That's likely not true for everyone"...
300 Somali children left for dead in drought
Trying to escape starvation and East Africa's unforgiving drought, hundreds of Somali children have been left for dead on the long, dusty journey to the world's largest refugee camp.
UNICEF on Thursday called the drought and refugee crisis "the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world." The international Red Cross signaled "great alarm" this week at the nutritional state of Somali children.

Thousands of Somalis are walking days and sometimes weeks to reach the refugee complex known as Dadaab, in hopes of finding food. But the journey is claiming untold numbers of children as victims.
Andrew Wander, a spokesman for Save the Children, said his agency is providing care to more than 300 unaccompanied children who were found on roadsides after their parents died or abandoned them on their way to Dadaab.
"I must say that I visited many refugee camps in the world. I have never seen people coming in such a desperate situation," the head of U.N.'s refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, said earlier in the week while visiting the new arrivals area.

Most of those coming to Dadaab are former subsistence farmers whose lands were rendered idle and animals decimated after successive seasons of no rain hit their already war-ravaged country. At least 1,500 arrive in Dadaab every day.
Tens of thousands of Somalis have watched their land dry up after years without rain. Then the livestock died. Finally all the food ran out. Now they are making the perilous journey over parched earth to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, regions that also have been hit hard by drought.

The U.N. expects at least 10 million people will need food aid, and a U.S. aid official said he believes the situation in Ethiopia is even worse than the government acknowledges.
The Ethiopian government said that 4.5 million people need food aid there, 40 percent more than last year.
Jason Frasier, mission director of USAID in Ethiopia, the U.S. government aid arm, suggested that Ethiopia might even be undercounting those who need help.
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Some here have said we have more pressing concerns than the climate. That's likely not true for everyone...
300 Somali children left for dead in drought

Trying to escape starvation and East Africa's unforgiving drought, hundreds of Somali children have been left for dead on the long, dusty journey to the world's largest refugee camp.

UNICEF on Thursday called the drought and refugee crisis "the most severe humanitarian emergency in the world." The international Red Cross signaled "great alarm" this week at the nutritional state of Somali children.

Thousands of Somalis are walking days and sometimes weeks to reach the refugee complex known as Dadaab, in hopes of finding food.

But the journey is claiming untold numbers of children as victims.

Andrew Wander, a spokesman for Save the Children, said his agency is providing care to more than 300 unaccompanied children who were found on roadsides after their parents died or abandoned them on their way to Dadaab.

- - - - - - - - - -

"I must say that I visited many refugee camps in the world. I have never seen people coming in such a desperate situation," the head of U.N.'s refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, said earlier in the week while visiting the new arrivals area.

Most of those coming to Dadaab are former subsistence farmers whose lands were rendered idle and animals decimated after successive seasons of no rain hit their already war-ravaged country. At least 1,500 arrive in Dadaab every day.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have watched their land dry up after years without rain. Then the livestock died. Finally all the food ran out. Now they are making the perilous journey over parched earth to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, regions that also have been hit hard by drought.

The U.N. expects at least 10 million people will need food aid, and a U.S. aid official said he believes the situation in Ethiopia is even worse than the government acknowledges.

The Ethiopian government said that 4.5 million people need food aid there, 40 percent more than last year. Jason Frasier, mission director of USAID in Ethiopia, the U.S. government aid arm, suggested that Ethiopia might even be undercounting those who need help.

Article...
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Quoting weathermanwannabe:


My Brother is on Bayview and 14th just North of there; he will probably be rolling in there for Happy Hour in about 2 hours.......... ;)


You have a nice avatar. I just have never seen anyone try to measure the bait before. ;-)
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Quoting Grothar:


I can walk to the Blue Martini from our home.


My Brother is on Bayview and 14th just North of there; he will probably be rolling in there for Happy Hour in about 2 hours.......... ;)
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347. xcool
about time ridging start to weaken across the Central Eastern US
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Quoting Grothar:


I'm back. Was hot there, too! Very hot! Everytime I go somewhere it seems to get hotter than I remember it.


I hear what you are saying. Pat has a good idea about the AC. Like you, without the remote, I forget what the knobs on the unit are suppose to do. .... Do you still have the owner's manual? Hopefully it has an index? Look up,"Its hot outside. How to turn on the AC unit." Most likely that will be the one section that only has directions in Chinese or they only discuss how to use the remote for this operation. Have you learned any Chinese yet?

How hot is it there?
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An additional cost to all this not reflected in the Munich Re figures is the cost of relief efforts...which surely runs into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions...
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Looks like a landfall somewhere along the Japanese coastline is quite unavoidable at the moment. Fortunately it does look like the storm should weaken significantly before landfall




still though, a cat 2 is no walk in the park and it should be hanging around the islands for a few days.
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Quoting Ivanhater:
Recon mission scheduled for tomorrow for the SW Caribbean system

WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1000 AM EDT THU 14 JULY 2011
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 15/1100Z TO 16/1100Z JULY 2011
TCPOD NUMBER.....11-044

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY: POSSIBLE LOW
LEVEL INVEST AT 16/1900Z NEAR 12N 82W.


Very interesting. I think there is a chance we get a minimal ts out of this if it manages to fester over water for more than 24 hours. Conditions are not that unfavorable, but time will be its enemy.
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Quoting Patrap:


Fine Bro,,driving the Rehab VA Therapist crazy though.

I gather yer well too.

Been resting the Joint for when we gets a Hurricane threat,,other dan dat, just driving the coolista's nuts as usual.


Move that arm!!!! Been looking back over the blog to catch up on any news. Some interesting waves to look at.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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