Top 10 climate-driven disasters of 2018 cost $110 billion
Friday, January 4, 2019, 1:48 PM - As weather becomes more extreme around the globe the cost of destruction, loss of human and animal life and the rate population migration, continue to increase.
2018 was a very costly year in all senses and the London based non-profit organization, Christian Aid, released a report at the end of 2018 identifying 10 of the most destructive weather events of the year, which were driven to such extremes in great part by human induced climate change.
As the global warming trend continues, 2018 has become the fourth hottest year on record, with average global temperatures nearly 1oC above pre-industrial levels.
The warming trend shows a clear signal of the increase in human emissions of greenhouse gases and the impact that they are having on global weather. And as global weather becomes more extreme, world populations exposed to such phenomena also grows and increases vulnerability to dangerous weather extremes.
These are the approximate costs in Canadian dollars of the top 10 weather events of 2018:
HURRICANES FLORENCE AND MICHAEL $23 AND $20 MILLION, RESPECTIVELY
Hurricane season this 2018 was more active than average in the north Atlantic with two major hurricanes impacting the United States - Florence and Michael. Together they are the costliest weather events of the year totaling $43 million dollars. They also claimed the lives of more than 50 people across the U.S., Honduras, and El Salvador.
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES $15 MILLION
California experienced one of the most dramatic fires in state's history this past year. The Camp fire in northern California, is now the most destructive and deadly wildfire in California history and damage totaled to $12 million, 85 deaths, and 14,000 homes destroyed. The Woolsey fire affected the Greater Los Angeles area with major impacts in cities like Malibu or Thousand Oaks, and resulted in about $3 million in damages.
EUROPE HEAT WAVE AND DROUGHT $10 MILLION
Summer of 2018 will be remembered as one of the hottest, especially in countries not accustomed to the intense heat like United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France or the Czech Republic. High temperatures and dry weather took the lives of thousands and causes widespread wildfires across many areas of the continent, with Greece experiencing the most devastating ones.
Other areas of central Europe also experienced a prolonged intense drought, which combined with intense heat caused the loss of many crops.
JAPAN FLOODS $9 MILLION
Between the months of June and July Japan experienced the worst floods in years. The southwest section of the country was the most affected, with widespread flooding and landslides.
230 people lost their lives during the intense rain period which was then followed by an intense heat wave. In July, the country was also impacted by typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm in 25 years, with a costly balance of 4 million.
EASTERN AUSTRALIA DROUGHT $6.5 -11 MILLION
Many zones of Australia registered below normal precipitation between the first ten months of 2018. The prolonged drought had a high toll on crops and livestock while causing numerous wildfires specially during the first three months of the year. Australia now looks at the tropical Pacific, as El Niño continues to intensify and will bring more dry-hot weather to the region this 2019.
ARGENTINA DROUGHT $8.1 MILLION
Summer of 2017-18 (December to March) was devastating for many agricultural areas across the country. The main impacted crops where soya and corn, with millions in losses. Precipitation totals were 50 per cent below average in some states between December and February and 25 per cent in March. This was the worst drought Argentina experienced in 25 years.
CHINA FLOODS $5.2 MILLION
During the beginning of July the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu in southeast China were affected by continuous torrential rains. Flooding and landslides where common together with the loss of life. In August, devastating super typhoon Rumbia touched land near Shanghai causing major destruction while adding to the damage bill an additional $7.2 million.
KERALA, INDIA FLOODS $5 MILLION
Despite being use to the intense monsoon rains, the Indian state of Kerala saw record rainfall during summer months with the highest values in 80 years. More than 500 people lost their lives and more than a million were forced to leave their homes. Millions in damage came mainly from the devastating widespread flood waters.
CAPE TOWN DROUGHT $1.6 MILLION
The beginning of 2018 brought the worst drought ever recorded to Cape Town, South Africa. Well below normal precipitation periods which occurred since 2015 caused potable water to run short, leading to extreme water restrictions in efforts to avoid "Day Zero", the day when authorities had planned to shut off the water supply to 75 per cent of the city. Experts say climate change made the drought three times likely to happen.
SUPER TYPHOON MANGKHUT BETWEEN $1.2-2.4 MILLION
One of the most extreme weather phenomenon of 2018 was super typhoon Mangkhut as it moved across the northern Philippines into southeast China. A total of 140 people lost their lives between the two countries. With winds of 285 km/h, this was the fourth most destructive storm in the history of Philippines.