An unprecedented deep freeze has hit Texas, causing havoc. The catastrophic storm named Hurricane Sandy has wrecked damage from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. The West witnessed a record-breaking heatwave and a severe drought. Also, there was a terrible out-of-season tornado outbreak that wreaked havoc on towns across the Central and Southern United States.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, those are just a few of the 20 weather and climate disasters that cost at least $1 billion apiece in the United States in 2021. Last year, all disasters combined slapped an astonishing $145 billion in total economic costs.
In a conference, Rachel Licker, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that “watching the preceding climate projections come authentic in 2021 was, in essence, seeing the past climate projections materialize.” “The fingerprints of climate change were all over various of the billion-dollar disasters that pounded the United States this year.”
Last year was the second year in a row with 20 or more billion-dollar disasters, topping the previous high of 22 set in 2020. However, in 2021, the price tag was $50 billion higher, and the catastrophic weather was significantly more fatal.
Three separate analyses issued on Monday, albeit unrelated, portray a picture of a United States in 2021 grappling with global warming and its efforts to mitigate it. According to scientists, extreme weather is becoming nastier and more common as a result of human-caused climate change, according to scientists, who have documented several ties to severe and deadly weather occurrences. They claim that warmer air and oceans and melting sea ice modify the jet stream, causing storm fronts to form and stall, hurricanes to become wetter and stronger, and western droughts and wildfires to increase.
Last year’s meteorological conditions catastrophes do include a record-breaking heatwave in the Pacific Northwest, with maximum temperatures 116 degrees in Portland, a disastrous and fatal cold chilly storm in Texas, a pervasive windstorm known as a derecho, four disastrous typhoons, deadly severe storm outbreaks, landslides, and enduring drought, as well as numerous forest fires. While the number of billion-dollar calamities reached a new high in 2020, Smith noted that “the extremes seemed a bit more significant than in 2020” in 2021.
Last year, billion-dollar weather disasters killed more than twice as many people as they did in 2020 when 262 individuals died as a result of harsh weather. The previous year with the highest death toll was 2011. Hurricane Maria killed around 3,000 people in Puerto Rico in 2017, even though is not part of the US contiguous area.
“The 800-pound elephant in the room is, of course, climate change, because that’s speeding all of these trends in terms of disaster potential for damage,” Smith said, adding that changes in where people live and housing vulnerability were issues. “These are the ones we’re having.” “It’s a series of complex cascade occurrences,” Smith explained. “A lot of things are going in the wrong direction.”
In the last five years, $742 billion has been spent on 86 different billion-dollar weather disasters, a new high of more than 17 per year. That’s about $100 billion more than the entire cost of all billion-dollar catastrophes from 1980 to 2004, adjusted for inflation, and significantly more than the country’s average of three billion-dollar disasters each year in the 1980s.