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2020 officially saw a record number of $1 billion weather and climate disasters.


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OAA has had a chance to look back on all the weather and climate disasters of 2020. And like many other aspects of 2020, the numbers we're seeing aren't positive.



2020 officially broke the record for most $1 billion disasters. The 22 costliest events shattered numbers previously set by 16 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2011 and 2017.

Note: the record here is for the number of events. In terms of cost, 2020's $95 billion price tag ranks as the fourth costliest.



Hurricane Laura's damages came in at the highest price for 2020. In fact, seven of the 12 landfalling tropical systems caused at least $1 billion in damages, which is a record in itself.


Western wildfires were also extremely active in 2020, consuming nearly 10.3 million acres. This includes about 4% of California's total acreage.


To top it all off, 2020 ranked as the 5th warmest year on record for the contiguous U.S.. Here in the District, 2020 ranked as the 3rd warmest year, tying 2019 with an annual average temperature of 60.6 degrees.
2020 temperature trend


There are many other notable records and statistics to come out of 2020. A deeper analysis is available as part of NOAA's annual assessment here.

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  • 3 months later...
  • Location: Broxbourne, Herts
  • Weather Preferences: Snow snow and snow
  • Location: Broxbourne, Herts

I find such figures unthrilling.   The amount of money a disaster costs is not indicative of how worse present disasters are compared to previous ones.

It's been thirty years since we have had a volcano erupt with a VEI of  6 or more.   The Icelandic one in 2010 was only  a relatively small one but the costs associated with it were probably more significant than Mount Pinatubo.

Does it mean volcanos are getting worse?   Most definitely not!

Today Swiss Re have come out with a report that suggests global GDP could drop 18% by 2050 without climate mitigation action with economies in Asia set to be hardest hit.

When companies start buying up frozen wasteland in Greenland I start to believe in climate change making as much of a dramatic impact as we keep being told it will make.




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