Natural Disasters Cost $7 Trillion Since 1900
There have been roughly 35,000 major catastrophes since 1900 to 2015, with storms and flooding causing the most damage by far. Continue reading →
Global catastrophes since 1900 have caused at least $7 trillion in damage, reported scientists in a new study.
The study examined more than 30,000 natural disasters -- floods, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes, bushfires, drought and others -- then totaled up the damages in 2015 U.S. dollars.
Rain and flooding caused most of the damage - about 40 percent. Earthquakes caused just over a quarter of the total damages, 19 percent came from storms, drought caused 12 percent, wildfires 2 percent and volcanoes just 1 percent.
Storm risk is increasing, the authors report: "If we just take data from 1960, we see a change in the trend; we see that storms are having a bigger piece of the pie," geophysicist James Daniell told BBC News.
There is some good news. Deaths from natural disasters are declining relative to the population of the planet over time. And most countries are seeing a decreasing risk of damage from natural disasters. China and Japan, the authors note, have seen significant reductions in disaster-related losses since 1950 in particular.
The researchers told the BBC their modeling work could help more quickly estimate damages, such as this weekend's quake in Ecuador, which is estimated to reach $2 billion.
The paper was presented by researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany at the European Geosciences Union meeting.
Hurricane Katrina menaces the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
The winners are in from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's "Weather in Focus" photo contest, picked from more than 2,000 entries taken between Jan. 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. "From rainbows and sunsets to lightning and tornadoes, the winning photos aren’t just captivating to look at, but inspire us to look at the world in different ways," said Douglas Hilderbrand, NOAA's contest judge and Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Lead. "It was difficult to pick winners from so many good entries." In first place, from the category "Science in Action," is "Green Bank Telescope in WV" by Mike Zorger, Falls Church, Va.
All 16 winning images will be displayed in a
exhibit located on the NOAA campus in Silver Spring, Md., starting in July. Second place in "Science in Action" went to "Photographer captures the aurora" by Christopher Morse, Fairbanks, Alaska.
In third place: "Atmospheric Research Observatory" by Joseph Phillips, Boulder, Colo.
And honorable mention also went to Joseph Phillips, Boulder, Colo. for "Atmospheric Research Observatory."
In the category "Weather, Water & Climate," first place went to "Snow Express" by Conrad Stenftenagel, Saint Anthony, Ind.
In second place was "Proton arc over Lake Superior" by Ken William, Clio, Mich.
"With a Bang" by Bob Larson, Prescott, Ariz., won third place in the "Weather, Water & Climate" category.
Honorable mention went to Alana Peterson, Maple Lake, Minn. for "Raindrops on a Leaf."
A second honorable mention was won for "Fire in the Sky over Glacier National Park" by Sashikanth Chintla, North Brunswick, N.J.
In the category "In the Moment," first place went to "Smoky Mountains" by Elijah Burris, Canton, N.C.
Second place went to "Spring Captured: Freezing rain attempts to halt spring" by Mike Shelby, Elkridge, Md.
And third place went to "Rolling clouds in Lake Tahoe" by Christopher LeBoa, San Leandro, Calif.
Of course the professionals had their own category. First place was won by Brad Goddard, Orion, Ill., for "Stars behind the storm."
Brad Goddard pretty much cleaned up this category, winning second (and third) place with "A tornado churns up dust in sunset light near Traer, IA."
Third place went for "A tornado crosses the path, Reinbeck, IA" by Brad Goddard.
“Fog rolls in from the ocean on a hot summer day, Belbar, N.J.” by Robert Raia, Toms River, N.J., won honorable mention in the pro category.