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Since 1980, geophysical events -- such as earthquakes and volcano eruptions -- have been more or less stable, while weather-related events -- including storms, floods, heat waves and drought -- have grown more than threefold. The United States, in particular, was seriously affected by weather extremes in 2012, accounting for 69 percent of total global disaster losses, a report showed.
According to a new report by risk management group Munich Re, 2012 saw 905 natural catastrophes worldwide, pushing total disaster-related losses to $170 billion. While global loss was "moderate" -- compared with 2011's record $380 billion -- it represented the second-costliest year for the United States, after 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit.
For the top 15 crop insurance companies in the United States -- such as Wells Fargo, QBE, ACE, American Financial Group and Endurance -- 2012 was the first time in a decade that crop insurance was a money loser, according to a Reuters report.
The drought alone cost the country more than $20 billion.
Originally posted by Wrabbit2000
I suppose it's very important to recall that while politics and those who live there are the bane of our existence at the moment, we're also in a period of heightened weather activity very similar to another cycle seen in the 1950's. If it all runs true and through previous patterns, we haven't seen the end yet.
Researchers at the AAAS Annual Meeting said that wild weather events like Superstorm Sandy and the severe Texas drought are the new normal in North America, as human-driven climate change has made these events more intense and more frequent.
Consider these facts:
• In the 1950s, the number of days that set record high temperatures in the U.S. was equal to the number of days that set record low temperatures. By the 2000s, record highs were twice as likely as record low.
• The amount of precipitation falling in the heaviest rain and snow events in the United States has increased by nearly 20% since the 1950s.
• Since the 1970s, the Atlantic Ocean has seen substantial increases in nearly every measure of hurricane activity, from frequency to storm intensity.