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Extreme weather events and climate change - Interactive Map from NRDC PDF Print E-mail
GIS News - Eco friendly and Green Geo Solutions
Written by NRDC   
09 December 2011
Climate change increases the risk of record-breaking extreme weather events that threaten communities across the country


2011 has been a year of unparalleled extremes: 14 disastrous weather events in the US so far this year have resulted in over a billion dollars in property damage – an all-time record breaking number – and their estimated $53 billion price tag doesn’t include health costs. As shown recently, in a first-of-its-kind study published in the journal Health Affairs1, when health-related costs of extreme events are calculated, the total tally increases substantially and will likely continue to climb due to climate change. 7 of the 2011 extreme events – a record-high number – are the type expected to worsen due to climate change.

Climate scientists are saying that these events may be part of a troubling trend influenced by climate change2. This trend has also been identified by the international reinsurance company MunichRe [PDF]; they concluded that from 1980 through 2011, the frequency of extreme events in the U.S. is rising.3 A newly-released analysis by international climate scientists (IPCC)4 concluded that climate change will amplify extreme heat, heavy precipitation, and the highest wind speeds of tropical storms.

We need to be prepared. Emergency planning must incorporate risks from climate change. For example, maps describing flooding zones need to account for increased risks caused by extreme rainfall and sea level rise resulting from climate change. While these plans are made at the local level, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must also prioritize addressing and preparing for climate change by providing guidance and resources to state and local governments.

Protect your family from extreme weather:

  • Stay informed – subscribe to local emergency alerts and watch for updates. Make sure to have a battery powered radio or other device in the event you lose power.
  • Stay connected – check on relatives, friends and neighbors.
  • Plan ahead – have an evacuation plan and emergency supplies on hand. See the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) lists for what you need.

In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck communities in the US. Check out the interactive map below to find out what events hit your area from January to October 2011.

Check out our maps to find out how vulnerable your community may be to the effects of climate change.

Methods for Developing NRDC's "Extreme Weather Map 2011"

Listen to a recording of the telepresser event announcing NRDC's Extreme Weather Mapping Tool, recorded on December 8, 2011

 

 
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