Friday, 6 January 2017

2006-2015 Climate-related events in the five continents: who leads?


The last month of 2016 was dedicated to highlighting key occurrences in the five continents: Asia, the Americas, Europe, Oceania and Africa . There was a deliberate attempt to only focus on 5 key disaster - drought, flood, storm, extreme temperatures and wildfire in order to allow for inter-comparisons within and between continents. On why the focus is on decadal and not longer term periods like 100 years and over: perhaps it is safe to say that the main aim of the blog was to highlight variations in environmental changes and accompanying impacts on human systems at the global level, based on available and reliable data from EM Database.


Comparisons

In the period 2006-2015, floods were the most frequent in all the continents apart from the Oceania that more prone to storms. Although extreme temperatures are frequent in Europe, they seem to have a very low frequency in Africa, Americas and the Oceania. Due to the nature of these hazards, rapid and slow onset, the frequency at which they appear is different. 



Very high frequent
High frequency
Moderate Frequency
Low frequency
Very low frequency
Africa
Flood
Storm
Drought
Wildfire
Extreme temperature
Americas
Flood
Storm
Drought
Wildfire
Extreme temperature
Asia
Flood
Storm
Extreme temperature
Drought
Wildfire
Europe
Flood
Extreme temperature
Storm
Wildfire
Drought
Oceania
Storm
Flood
Wildfire
Drought
Extreme temperature
Frequency of  extreme climate events from 2006-2015 in the world's five continents 
(Source: EM-DAT Database, Accessed 3 January 2017)


Due to the nature and frequency of disasters occurring in different continents, the level of risk, impact and damage varies. Consequently, the number of fatalities and economic damages vary as shown in the figure below - highest number of fatalities in Asia (221,224) and lowest in the Oceania (1,165). Interestingly, the later has the highest cost of damage (890,759,581), perhaps due to the fact that most settlements in the Oceania are developed along the coastlines which are the most at risk from storms and floods (rapid onset disasters occurring frequently in the region). 


Number of deaths and economic costs of damages resulting from extreme climate events between 2006-2015 (Source: EM-DAT Database, Accessed 3 January 2017)


What next?

In the next and last post for the blog, I attempt to highlight some of the interventions and responses that are being implemented/or should be implementation to enhance adaptation to climate-related disasters, build resilience, and promote environmental sustainability. See you there... :)