Natural disasters, despite all possible rescue measures, are still killing people all over the planet. In a report for last year, the UN announced that extreme weather events have led to the deaths of fifteen thousand people and financial losses amounting to one hundred and seventy billion dollars. In addition, due to human intervention, the number of these phenomena is increasing every year. More about this edition of Science talks with experts.
Natural disasters are climatic phenomena that are not specific to the region or season in which they occur. For example, snow in the Sahara. It also refers to weather events that affect the quality of life of people in a given region – droughts, storms, floods, frosts.
Geert Jan van Oldenborg, a Dutch climatologist at the Royal Meteorological Institute, notes that some types of weather events intensify. Others, on the contrary, disappear. The former include droughts and downpours. The latter include frosts. In addition, their intensity varies from region to region.
Dr. Michael Wehner, a climate science expert at the U.S. National Laboratory, believes that a number of climate phenomena have now become more severe due to human influence on the planet’s climate. So we can expect that other natural disasters will become more severe due to warming. Even now experts fix the increase of quantity and intensity of droughts and extreme precipitations. On the contrary, winter weather events are decreasing.
For shorter weather events, such as hurricanes, storms and tornadoes, there is much more evidence. Perhaps because they are shorter in duration. Scientists believe that storms will become longer and more intense, but the number will decrease. That said, there remain weather phenomena that are almost impossible to measure. For example, tornadoes or “derecho” winds.
Another specialist, Kevin Trenberth, a scientist specializing in the atmosphere, specifies that the more important point is not the fact that these events have become more numerous, but that they have become more damaging, more destructive and more intense.
At the same time, scientists emphasize that the number and strength of extreme weather events will continue to increase as the climate changes as a result of human activity.