The frequency of intense natural disasters has been on the rise worldwide over the past 40 years. Meanwhile, temperatures have risen on average, while both temperatures and precipitation have become more variable and more extreme. Their impacts are clearly visible in Asia and the Pacific region, which has seen some of the most damaging natural disasters.
Recent scientific evidence points to the link between rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and climate variables such as temperature and precipitation that underlie floods, storms, droughts and heatwaves. Rising population exposure, greater population vulnerability, and increasing climate-related hazards are three main disaster risk factors behind the increased frequency of intense natural disasters. A study underlying this paper finds an association between more frequent climatological disasters (relating to droughts and heat waves) and rising temperatures; and between hydrometeorological disasters (relating to floods and storms) and people locating in harm’s way and precipitation anomalies.
These findings underpin the necessity of greater prevention of natural disasters, and of integrating climate adaptation and mitigation in reducing disaster risks. With no let-up in the increasing costs of disasters to lives and livelihood, homes and infrastructure - such preventive measures must be part of policy and planning.
© 2014 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart