According to a new study, the number of flood events across the world has doubled in the last 14 years and have quadrupled since 1980.
New data show that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years, with a significant uptick in floods and other hydrological events compared even with five years ago, according to a new publication, “Extreme weather events in Europe: Preparing for climate change adaptation: an update on EASAC’s 2013 study” by the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), a body made up of 27 national science academies in the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland.
“there has been and continues to be a significant increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, making climate proofing all the more urgent – Professor Michael Norton”
Globally, according to the new data, the number of floods and other hydrological events have quadrupled since 1980 and have doubled since 2004, highlighting the urgency of adaptation to climate change. Climatological events, such as extreme temperatures, droughts, and forest fires, have more than doubled since 1980. Meteorological events, such as storms, have doubled since 1980.
Professor Michael Norton, EASAC’s Environment Programme Director states, “Our 2013 Extreme Weather Events report – which was based on the findings of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute – has been updated and the latest data supports our original conclusions: there has been and continues to be a significant increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, making climate proofing all the more urgent. Adaptation and mitigation must remain the cornerstones of tackling climate change. This update is most timely since the European Commission is due to release its evaluation of its climate strategy this year.”
Increasing Costs of Storm Damage
These extreme weather events carry substantial economic costs. In the updated data (Figure 3; Figure 2 in 2018 updated publication), thunderstorm losses in North America have doubled – from under US$10 billion in 1980 to almost $20 billion in 2015.
River Flood Protection Measures Working
On a more positive note, river flood losses in Europe show a near-static trend (despite their increased frequency), indicating that protection measures that have been implemented may have stemmed flood losses.
Source: European Academies’ Science Advisory Council, Leopoldina – Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften