Disasters In 2010: Nine-Tenths Were Severe Weather-Related Events Linked To Climate Change

Globally, a growing majority of people are starting to understand that climate change and global warming mean extreme weather. Last week New Yorkers were under two feet of snow. In Australia, Queensland is experiencing a flood of biblical proportion that covers an area as big as France and Germany combined. In 2010, floods killed thousands in Pakistan and China, and Russia experienced a record heat wave that resulted in huge forest fires killing more than 50,000 people. Yet governments worldwide, even in Europe where politicians are not contesting the reality of climate change, are failing to address fully this issue that represents a “clear and present danger” to our very survival.

On Monday, the German re-insurer giant Munich Re said that major global catastrophes in 2010 resulted in overall losses amounting to $130 billion. Of the total losses, only around $37 billion were insured. In terms of human fatalities, the earthquake in Haiti, floods in Pakistan and China, and fires in Russia made 2010 an exceptionally bad year. Globally, 295,000 people were killed by disasters in 2010.

“The high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures, both globally and in different regions of the world, provide further indications of advancing climate change,” said the Munich Re’s report.

Munich Re, which is the world’s top re-insurer, accounted for a total of 950 natural disasters last year. It makes 2010 the second worst year on record since 1980. The average number of disasters over the past 10 years was 785. According to Munich Re, the average number of natural catastrophes over the past 30 years was 615, with an average fatalities number standing at 66,000.

The report also notes that amongst the 950 natural disasters recorded last year, nine-tenths were weather-related events such as storms and floods. As far as ranking disasters by the number of fatalities: Haiti was on top with 222,570 killed; Russia came second with 56,000 people killed by the forest fires resulting from the heat wave; China was third with 4,170 killed by earthquake, landslides and floods; Pakistan was fourth with 1,760 victims from the floods.

“2010 showed the major risks we have to cope with. There were a number of severe earthquakes. The hurricane season was also eventful, it was just fortunate that the tracks of most of the storms remained over the open seas,” said Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s CEO.

So, as far as hurricanes, 2010 could have been a lot worse. Professor Peter Hoppe, head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research notes that the number of storms was well above average, but they just did not make land fall in highly populated areas.

“That is in line with the trend of the past 30 years, in which all ocean basins showed an increase in water temperatures. This long-term trend can no longer be explained by natural climate oscillations alone. No, the probability is that climate change is contributing to some of the warming of the world’s oceans,” said Professor Hoppe from Munich Re.

Climate change and global warming deniers should take a hard look at the report from Munich Re and understand that climate change is a direct cause of extreme weather such as severe storms, hurricanes, heat waves, and floods. In Germany, denying the Holocaust is a crime, and it would not be surprising if, in a couple of generations, denying climate change becomes a crime as well, at least for policymakers. However, as long as US politicians remain in the back pocket of  oil companies, no real progress will be made to curtail this global disaster in the making.


9 Responses to Disasters In 2010: Nine-Tenths Were Severe Weather-Related Events Linked To Climate Change

  1. Bcronos January 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    “climate change is a direct cause of extreme weather such as severe storms, hurricanes, heat waves, and floods.”

    but better is:

    “extreme weather such as severe storms, hurricanes, heat waves, and floods is called climate change.”

    • Mike Kaulbars
      Mike Kaulbars January 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Even better is “supposedly clever comments are no substitute for actual knowledge”
      climate change

  2. JeffM January 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Mr. Mercier:

    Bcronos gotcha real good…you got the mantra all wrong. The mantra is: climate change causes bad weather. Memorize this. If you continue to write articles such as this, you have to be correct on this point, otherwise, readers will instinctively know you haven’t a clue about that on which you opine. Your peers probably won’t notice, but your readers will.

    In the olden days, there were numerous instances of bad weather; all caused by God, not man. At least that was the explanation given, as an example, for the freak storm that wiped out the Spanish Armada, in 1588. History is rife with examples of bad weather, or “acts of God” as they used to be called. Today, the new orthodoxy has replaced “God” with “climate change”.

    I enjoyed your article, despite the mantra gaff.

    • Cheyenne January 7, 2011 at 7:28 am

      okay Jeffm i think its pretty true and dont turn this guy down he did his best and thats all that matters best is that he is giving people info. about hurricanes wich is pretty awesome

  3. Cheyennne January 7, 2011 at 7:24 am

    hey um i am doing a report at school and i think this is pretty interesting i am doing a project of hurricanes thats why i am postng this and i think you could put this in the newspaper

  4. Cheyenne January 7, 2011 at 7:26 am

    hey its me again Cheyenne do you care if i take a couple facts??? I think they would be awesome for my article please reply sincerly Cheyenne

    • Gilbert Mercier
      Gilbert Mercier January 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm

      Please do so, and you can also link to my article.

  5. JeffM January 9, 2011 at 12:15 pm


    You probaly read about some really awful hurricanes in U.S. history, back in the early to mid 1900’s. These killer storms are not new to the human condition. There’s no reason not to expect them to come ashore from time to time in the future. The only difference is that they will be gratuitously attributed to manmade climate change. When they do come ashore (and they most certainly will), you can say, “See… it proves that manmade climate change is real!”

    Many inland communities have erected levees to protect from seasonal flooding. Floods have vexed mankind for all of time. They were considered “Acts of God”. Now these floods are attributed to manmade climate change.

    Why is this so? Is it because it’s hard to find any real evidence of manmade climate change, and these are the closest things there are?

  6. Howling Winds January 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Extreme weather events have always been with and always will. Move along, nothing to see here. Just think about, 6000 years ago there was no one who could even record an extreme weather event…so 99% of all extreme weather events that have impacted humanity will never be known.

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