Extreme weather events more common now than ever: study

Extreme weather events have become more frequent over the past 36 years, with a significant increase in floods and other hydrological events compared even with five years ago, a study has found.

Globally, the number of floods and other hydrological events have quadrupled since 1980 and have doubled since 2004, highlighting the urgency of adaptation to climate change, according to the data published by the European Academies' Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

EASAC is a body made up of 27 national science academies in the European Union, Norway, and Switzerland.

Climatological events, such as extreme temperatures, droughts, and forest fires, have more than doubled since 1980, according to the data.

Meteorological events, such as storms, have doubled since 1980, the data unveiled.

"There has been and continues to be a significant increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, making climate proofing all the more urgent," said Professor Michael Norton, EASAC's Environment Programme Director.

"Adaptation and mitigation must remain the cornerstones of tackling climate change," said Norton.

These extreme weather events carry substantial economic costs, researchers said.

For example, thunderstorm losses in North America have doubled - from under USD 10 billion in 1980 to almost USD 20 billion in 2015, they said.

The new data marks an update on EASAC's 2013 Extreme Weather Events report which was based on the findings of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and the Norwegian Meteorological Institute.


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