Climate disasters set new record at $306bn in 2017

09 Enero, 2018, 01:29 | Author: Arnold Perez

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Monday the destructive climate events came during the third-warmest year on record for the US. According to Smith, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria now join 2005's Katrina and 2012's Sandy among the five most costly USA hurricanes in the agency's disaster record.

The disasters caused $306 billion in total damage in 2017, during with 16 separate events caused more than $1 billion in damage each. Previous year could arguably surpass 2011 for total events, the NOAA said, given that it treats all wildfires as a regional event rather than isolated incidents.

"2017 was a historic year for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters", said Adam Smith, an economist for NOAA, on a call with reporters.

Rainfall from Harvey caused massive flooding that displaced over 30,000 people and damaged or destroyed over 200,000 homes and businesses, NOAA said. Irma cost 50 billion (£37 billion).

Hurricane Maria now ranks as the third-costliest weather and climate disaster on record for the nation and Irma ranks as the fifth-costliest.

Records go back to 1895. Widespread flooding caused by monsoon rains in South Asia also contributed to the costs, as did a severe quake in Mexico, according to Munich Re, a German-based reinsurer.

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"While we have to be careful about knee-jerk cause-effect discussions, the National Academy of Science and recent peer-reviewed literature continue to show that some of today's extremes have climate change fingerprints on them", said Dr. Marshall Shepherd, a University of Georgia meteorology professor and past president of the American Meteorological Society.

The weather agency also says that 2017 was the third hottest year in USA records with an annual temperature of 54.6 degrees (12.6 degrees Celsius). Warmer temperatures were only recorded in 2016 and 2012.

"While the weather can change on a dime, our climate is steadily warming", said Shaun Martin of the World Wildlife Fund.

The nation's $1 billion disasters previous year were: three hurricanes, eight severe storms, two inland floods, a crop freeze, a drought and a wildfire.

Global temperature data for 2017 will be released on January 18 by NOAA and NASA.

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