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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The ratio is thus.

A one degree increase in Global Avg Temp,,produces a 4% increase in WV,,

A moister atmo holds a greater potential for chaos.

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Quoting atmoaggie:
I hope they sort out the system soon.
Currently, we all would have to iggy an otherwise decent poster should they post a very large loop or image or very long text or one of those oddities where the whole blog gets posted within a single comment...things that usually happen by accident.
We cannot currently simply "hide" a post and have it stay hidden on a refresh...


Well then ya best change to FF cuz it my view @ Home. It be puurr-fect.
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Quoting ncstorm:
Next Monday GOM

Umm, Tuesday, the 26th ?
Most would call Monday, July 18 "next Monday"...

(288 hours out is a long d@{[ way out...)
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Quoting AussieStorm:

It can be explained.... It's called La Ni%uFFFDa


So warmer global temperatures has no influence? palleeeasee

Just so I can better understand your argument, which part are you denying, the fact that earth is warming? or the fact that a warmer earth has consequences?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
so the judges pulled a yellow on the sw carib.
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Quoting CaneHunter031472:
Earth's atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.


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?
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
I hope they sort out the system soon.
Currently, we all would have to iggy an otherwise decent poster should they post a very large loop or image or very long text or one of those oddities where the whole blog gets posted within a single comment...things that usually happen by accident.
We cannot currently simply "hide" a post and have it stay hidden on a refresh...
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SE Coast Storm



GOM


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Stormchaser2007 is defiantly still around, saw him a lot during Arlene.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23497
Quoting andrewTXmet:

Kinda weird you wouldn't figure out based on my posts that I'm an alt, not a newbie, but it beats me if the shoe fits...
I do take back the newbie comment.... I see u got ur stripes somehow... if nothing else u had to be a lurker of some devotion.... lol

Would be nice to know ur old handle, but having read a few more posts I think I have a clue who u may be...

That being said, I am MASSIVELY LATE and must depart forthwith.... will be back later to see if we've swung back around to TC potential.... which I am STILL hoping doesn't happen before Saturday.... so far NHC is with me on that... lol

Later!
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Anyone have a clue to how long the heat wave in the Midwest is going to last? What's the odds this last more than 2 weeks? Whats the pattern setting up for August and September? Much appreciated!
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we like to be factual among the viewers Tom.

No slight intended.


I enjoy your input here.
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Quoting Patrap:
Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog
yeah I know pat, you got me
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4357
legends..LOL!!
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Quoting aquak9:
post 264- ain't even gonna quote it

Pat, ya got a barf bag laying around anywhere? I'm about to need it...



Seems the trash will be sorted out soon.

Always put it out on a Thursday here.

LoL
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Hey, If u r interested in getting some decent, easy to understand information about wx in general and tropical cyclones in particular, you may want to check out the following link.

NWS Jetstream Online School for Weather
It's got almost every topic you may want to learn about on the basics of weather.


Thanks for the link. It is now in my "bookmarks" :)
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i'd tend to be most concerned w/the toxic pcb levels in our atmosphere,those things dont leave if you know what i'm say'n!!
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More facts

Every Climatologist will tell you the Earth's temperature has been much hotter and colder than it is now.

There was an Ice Age and it warmed up, there was a Mini Ice Age just 500 years ago and it has been warming up ever since. The Industrial Revolution was not around during those periods.

NASA reports because of Solar Flares the Sun is the hottest it has been in over 100 years. There are no cars on the sun.

Global warming is causing ice to melt on Mars. There are no cars on Mars.

Thousands and thousands of studies and experiments prove that more carbon dioxide produces better fruits, vegetables, trees and almost any sort of plant life.

Most of the temperature increase happened before 1940 (Before most carbon dioxide was released by cars and factories)

The hot year of 1998 was caused by El Nino.

Joining the Kyoto Protocol would cost the U.S. approximately $400 Billion every year and would have virtually no effect on earths temperature.

April 28, 1975 Newsweek printed an article about scientists predicting doom and gloom because of Global Cooling.

Global Warming Lies and many millions of other people who don't believe global warming is man made have never received money from any oil company.

Climate models do not take into account water vapor that is 95% of the atmosphere.

The United Nations left out two statements that were supposed to be in the final draft of a paper on Global Warming.

1) “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases.”
2) “No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to man–made causes”

There are six billion people on Earth, a colder climate and/or less carbon dioxide would have devastating effects worldwide.

I wish I could take credit for this but I can't, it's a webpage with news articles on everything global warming is blamed for.
Global Warming blamed for everything

If you don't believe global warming will destroy the earth you will be accused of working for an oil company.

From: http://www.globalwarminglies.com/
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post 264- ain't even gonna quote it

Pat, ya got a barf bag laying around anywhere? I'm about to need it...
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Quoting AussieStorm:

Our coal is exported all round the world and mainly to China. yes you are right. What will be taxed is: All Transport, anything that has to be transported will have a carbon tax on it. Even public transport will have a carbon tax on it. Food, Electricity, Gas, everything will have a carbon tax on it. The govt has said it will compensate families but didn't say for how many years. What my main fear is once the carbon credits go onto the free market, the price could double or it could halve. Petrol and Diesel for private cars will not have a carbon tax on it but petrol and diesel for company cars and trucks, buses will not have to pat a carbon tax for 2 years after that they will. Imagine paying $400 for 3 month, then the next bill comes in after the next 3 months and it's $600 of $800. We also pay 10% GST(Goods and Services Tax) on most things.


I see your points and I agree that a carbon tax is not the way to go. Until it is applied equally and globally, no plan that has been introduced will work. That is the short story here. The long story is that oil is a finite resource and as supplies diminish, costs will rise. The truth of the matter is, in our "free market", there does not even have to be disruption in supply for prices to rise. A prime example of this would be a "threat" of a storm entering the GOM will cause speculation that there could be a shortage of supply and the prices will go up purely on speculation. Stand clear of the gas pumps, for the price has a potential to put you into cardiac arrest, should a major actually cause a short lived supply problem. OK, all of the protesting in the world will not change the fact that supplies can be impaired and resources become scarce or run out and create massive price hikes due to this. Oil based products are going to become more expensive in the future. I do not see any way around this. Taxes can be protested and when enough protests are made can be changed or eliminated. The depletion of resources cannot be protested to a point of change. It is that simple.

And, yes, I agree. There is no alternative energy source, even collectively, that will get us off of the need for oil now. I think it wise to conserve all that we can of our known reserves until we reach the point where oil is not needed to supply our energy needs. I have never been a believer that when when your car is running low on gas that you speed up to get to the next gas station.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4737
Re: 210 atmoaggie...

Absolutely YES!!! this is the point I have been arguing here for simply AGES.... and so well said... all of other impacts, CO2 and so on, may or may not be true; our evidence is not as sound as I would like... but the evidence / impacts of human restructuring of the earth are obvious.
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Atlantic Ocean View (Updated ~3 hours)

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Anybody watching the wave aproaching 45W?

Lot of dry air in front of it.....but the wave itself appears to be moistening the area. Will need to watch whatever coming behind that one.
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Quoting druseljic:


A WALK...OUTSIDE??? How will I reach the F5 button?


Bring a vverryy long stick.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23497
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Quoting 1911maker:
I have very little knowledge of "tropical weather". Mostly because I am not that interested in it. I came to the blog to find out info on climate change.

However, I do have a tropical weather question......

What is the difference between a:
Hurricane
Cyclone
Typhoon

Same name for the same thing, or do each have some technical differences other then location?

Hey, If u r interested in getting some decent, easy to understand information about wx in general and tropical cyclones in particular, you may want to check out the following link.

NWS Jetstream Online School for Weather
It's got almost every topic you may want to learn about on the basics of weather.

Quoting atmoaggie:
*sigh* So, random climate-related posts must be on topic...

Well, found this interesting study:
Changes in Sea-Level Pressure over South Korea Associated with High-Speed Solar Wind Events
http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1107/1107.184 1v1.pdf

They explored only the highest speed solar wind events and found a detectible, positive 2.5 hPa sea level pressure anomaly in S. Korea.

What effect would a higher than average solar wind have on global surface temperatures?

(Maybe something, maybe nothing. Is a coherent and respectful discussion possible?)
Hmmm... this is pretty interesting.

Quoting andrewTXmet:
I miss the years in this blog where we'd have multiple formidable hurricanes to discuss in July, not this boringness.
Kinda weird u'd say this, given u've only been a member for less than one day....

Quoting thefallingman:
When assessing the amount of damage caused by weather, earthquakes should be excluded. Earthquakes are caused by the shifting of the tectonic plates which is the result of mantle convection. Whether or not the climate is changing and whether or not humans are affecting the climate is irrelevant because earthquakes are not caused by the climate.
Bravo! I think you've got it! Now, if only the anti-AGWers would also "get it" and realize the doc is talking about DISASTERS, not AGW.... lol

Quoting nymore:
I noticed that forest fires were added to the natural disasters under climate events. This is a bad metric to figure in to climate events. The fires are apart of the natural process of renewing the forest, the problem is man puts them out there by storing more fuel for the next one. The only things you should maybe try and save is peoples homes other than that they should be allowed to burn naturally. Take Yellowstone Park for example all you heard back them was the forest would be ruined for decades but look what happened. The results are amazing scientists. Also if they are insuring the price of the timber that could really escalate the property damage. Warm climate ( Arizona ) or cool climate ( Alaska ) forests burn naturally. much as humans were born to grow up and die, forests are born to grow up and burn. The same goes for grasslands example burn a field of grass next thing you know healthy green grass
I think your explanation is why they added them under climate events, i.e. as a part of the natural cycle of the earth. I think in each case the natural disaster [if we look at it from the earth's perspective, not ours] is a result of what you describe, naturalprocesses. The disaster part comes in when we as human beings put ourselves and our property in the way. I think that's why someone early commented that there is a natural correlation between increased population, increased prosperity, and increased disaster impacts.

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Quoting druseljic:


A WALK...OUTSIDE??? How will I reach the F5 button?

Sorry I went for a walk and froze my butt off. darn cold outside. You won't need to hit the F5 button cause your pc/laptop would be off.
I'm off to bed.
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We can bookmark stuff?

Huh, go fig-ya
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Quoting bohonkweatherman:
Hope that is true, shows a few rain chances for South Central Texas.


I hope so too..would be great to see something pan out for Texas..they need the rain desperately!
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
98L coming to the SW Caribbean very very very soon

can you post me the link to the site


Bookmark it
Link
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23497
Most anti GW, see this as a"liberals against conservatives issue"; nothing to do with that, this is about a planet that we all share, and what we can do to help preventing a "catastrophic" climate change.


plus 100


..putt's in a Birdie.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z GFS run was very interesting.
Our SW Caribbean system spins up into a 1005 mb low, probably a TD or minimal TS.


But what real caught my eye was what the GFS is showing in the extreme long range, while its not going to happen its starting to show what pattern is going to be in place by the end of the month.

Super long range 288 hrs, system off Africa.


Ridiculously long range, but it shows you what pattern could be in place in that timeframe which is why the GFS goes out that far.




I keep hoping that it changes, I am in the denial phase ATM and refuse to bring it up...
Member Since: August 19, 2005 Posts: 5 Comments: 5020
98L coming to the SW Caribbean very very very soon
Quoting CybrTeddy:
12z GFS run was very interesting.
Our SW Caribbean system spins up into a 1005 mb low, probably a TD or minimal TS.


But what real caught my eye was what the GFS is showing in the extreme long range, while its not going to happen its starting to show what pattern is going to be in place by the end of the month.

Super long range 288 hrs, system off Africa.


Ridiculously long range, but it shows you what pattern could be in place in that timeframe which is why the GFS goes out that far.


can you post me the link to the site
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92 "Dub-ya" winding up as well..in the west pac.






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Quoting ncstorm:
For tropical bloggers..GFS calling for a storm in the GOM..next Monday..thats less than the 7 day criteria

Link



Hope that is true, shows a few rain chances for South Central Texas.
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kwgirl:
The tragic part of these weather extremes we are beginning to see in the famine in Africa. When Americans walk into their grocery stores and find very high priced goods, or even still, no goods at all to eat, then maybe the non-believers in GW will wake up. I saw a news report on the drought in Texas and it is scary. Imagine another dust bowl in the grain belt of America. Russia has stopped exporting grain. We may have to do that as well. Then what happens to the starving masses that we have been suppling with food. I guess they just die faster. I know that Australia was badly affected in their farming area. Just think about all that is affected by bad weather extremes and then you might get a hint of what the AGW crowd are worried about. We cannot control the weather, but we can control how we affect our climate. So sad that it has to come to extremes before the guys in power sit up and take notice, just as in the Dustbowl days. Most anti GW, see this as a"liberals against conservatives issue"; nothing to do with that, this is about a planet that we all share, and what we can do to help preventing a "catastrophic" climate change.
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All NOAA Floater Imagery
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Quoting AussieStorm:
I have an idea, How about we all turn our pc/laptops and tv's off and go outside for a walk. The more time people spend outside the less power they will use. hence lessening there carbon foot print.


A WALK...OUTSIDE??? How will I reach the F5 button?
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looks like the latest NOGAPS is calling for the SE Coast storm..

Link
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Bob and weave? or Shuck and Jive?


LoL
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co2now.org

What the world needs to watch

Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth%u2019s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

To help the world succeed, CO2Now.org makes it easy to see the most current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and keep an eye on CO2. Invite others to do the same. Then we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.

393.69ppm







Atmospheric CO2 for June 2011

Preliminary data released July 5, 2011 (Mauna Loa Observatory: NOAA-ESRL)
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Earth's atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.

There has historically been much more CO2 in our atmosphere than exists today. For example, during the Jurassic Period (200 mya), average CO2 concentrations were about 1800 ppm or about 4.7 times higher than today. The highest concentrations of CO2 during all of the Paleozoic Era occurred during the Cambrian Period, nearly 7000 ppm -- about 18 times higher than today.

The Carboniferous Period and the Ordovician Period were the only geological periods during the Paleozoic Era when global temperatures were as low as they are today. To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming.

We are actually in an ice age climate today. However for the last 10,000 years or so we have enjoyed a warm but temporary interglacial vacation. We know from geological records like ocean sediments and ice cores from permanent glaciers that for at least the last 750,000 years interglacial periods happen at 100,000 year intervals, lasting about 15,000 to 20,000 years before returning to an icehouse climate. We are currently about 18,000 years into Earth's present interglacial cycle. These cycles have been occurring for at least the last 2-4 million years, although the Earth has been cooling gradually for the last 30 million years.

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About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.