Frequency projected to rise
It’s no surprise that a special report released by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found the incidence of extreme weather events has increased—and that the frequency of extreme events is projected to rise in the future.
The IPCC was established by the United Nations to provide a scientific view on climate change and
its potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts. The report shared the following observations:
- It is likely (66% to 100% probability) that the frequency of heavy precipitation events will increase in many regions.
- It is very likely (90% to 100% probability) that heat waves will increase in length, frequency and/or intensity in most areas.
- There is evidence that gives the IPCC medium confidence that droughts will intensify in central North America in the next decade.
Dollar Impact. In 2011, a record amount was spent on disasters in the U.S., with at least 10 disasters approaching a total of $50 billion. U.S. high-cost weather events have increased by a factor of five in the past 30 to 40 years. The 2011 drought and wildfires in the Southwest resulted in more than $9 billion of damage, and Hurricane Irene caused more than $7 million in damage.
A recent insurance survey tallied $14 billion in losses in the U.S. in 2011 from weather events.
"What we see is acute pain experienced by farmers because they’re suffering from more floods and more droughts than they’ve experienced before," says David Friedberg, founder and CEO of The Climate Corporation, which specializes in weather insurance. "When you speak to farmers, for example, they speak about the fact that the past couple of years’ weather isn’t anything like they’ve experienced or any of the generations past have experienced in farming their land."