Impacts of extreme weather, global warming

Allan Cooper


With the devastation caused by hurricane Harvey and the devastation caused by hurricane Irma, I believe it is important to look at how extreme weather – mainly precipitated by climate change – has impacted the entire world and how it has, more specifically, impacted the United States (between 1980 and 2017). In summary, here are the facts:

World-wide: (source: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres)

1) Natural disasters have nearly quadrupled in number since 1970.

2) In the last two months, 1,000 people have been killed in flooding events.

3) Some 40 million people have seen their homes, businesses or crops destroyed.

4) Last year, 24.2 million people were displaced by sudden natural disasters – three times as many as caused by conflict and violence.

5) The United States has experienced the most disasters since 1995, followed by China and India.

Within the United States: (source: NOAA)

6) According to NOAA between 1980 and 2017 the 212 natural disasters which have occurred within the U.S. have resulted in 9,680 deaths and incurred losses totaling (CPI adjusted) $1,237,500,000.00

7) Texas was the state that experienced the highest number of natural disasters over this period (94).

8) If you’re looking for a safe place to live, you might choose North Dakota which experienced the least number of natural disasters between 1980 and 2017 (15) (just joking!).

You might want to click onto the following NOAA link.

For example, within the last year and eight months alone, natural disasters occurring within the United States included baseball-sized (reaching 4-1/2 inch in diameter) hail storms over multiple states, a multi-state 15-inch rain event in 2017, a Houston 17-inch rain event in 2016 and a Louisiana 31-inch rain event in 2016. These resulted in breached levees, flooding and loss of 50,000 homes and 20,000 businesses. Also included was severe storms have included high, unusual straight-line winds and widespread tornadoes (tornadoes occurring earlier in the season over a larger area), an unusual severe freeze in the Southeast during the month of March, drought- and bark beetle-related wildfires with over 5 million acres burned in the western and southern states, extreme drought resulting in the loss of 100 million trees and a category 4 hurricane (Matthew) resulting in the loss of 100,000 homes, businesses and other structures.

In conclusion, propagandists (as in oil companies), conspiracy theorists (as in Rush Limbaugh) and anti-intellectuals (as in Donald Trump) can deny climate change – or the more nuanced reasons for climate change – all they want. But the facts remain the facts and objective assessment of evidence is for many of us the only path toward survival on this planet.

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4 Comments about “Impacts of extreme weather, global warming”

  1. William J Sidis says:

    I agree on one thing…the climate IS changing. Newsflash! IT ALWAYS HAS! No evidence whatsoever humans are causing it.

  2. acooper says:

    Bm7 –
    I entirely agree with you and I did not address any solutions to this problem. Yes, the population explosion on this planet is the source of most of our problems. And I agree that we’re doing too little too late when addressing life style issues. However, in lieu of “population control”, I believe that the almighty profit motive will save us by encouraging humans to pay less for less polluting technologies. To make this happen, we have to oppose the generous government subsidies provided the polluters (i.e., oil companies, etc.) in order to level the playing field for these new clean technology start-up companies.

  3. slosum says:

    Allan my man. You may be an “intellectual”… but you’re not smart.
    1) Yes, the climate is changing. No one “denys” it.
    2) Yes, we have bad weather from time to time (and time in memoriam). It comes and goes.
    3) And yes, a higher power than you controls it all. (Hint, it’s not called “man”)

    Sadly, many “intellectuals” like you don’t believe in that higher power, call it what you will.
    1) Most smart people call it God.
    2) Most smart people know they are not in control of anything except how they react to it, such as a NATURAL disaster (to use your phrase).
    3) That’s why the good folks in Texas and Florida responded so well to Harvey and Irma. They rely on themselves and their faith first.
    4) If others come to help they are grateful but not totally dependent on it. Government resources included.
    5) And they don’t have time to sit around listening to “intellectuals” who lecture them on why it happened. They know why it happened. It’s called “God-made climate change” and then they get on with their life.

    God help you Allan if we get a solar flare or volcanic eruption or stray meteor which will mess up the climate rather nicely. Who are you going to blame THAT on?

  4. Bm7 says:

    I agree with almost everything you say, however the problem is not with the fact that the climate is changing but rather what to do about it. Forcing everyone in CA to make sure that every single scrape of food is properly recycled will do nothing to alleviate the problem. The majority of the problem is too many humans. Until world leaders address this part of the equation seriously we are doomed. So all these politicians who want to over regulate every single facet of every American life are lying to us, only population control can put a dent into the damage humans have done to this planet. Technological advancements in energy use and recycling are cool and potentially profitable but not the solution.

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