The Decline in Deaths from Extreme Weather, 1900?2010

Source:  Reason Foundation

Aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by 98% since the 1920s

Indur M. Goklany and Julian Morris

Aggregate mortality attributed to all extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90% since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events. The aggregate mortality rate declined by 98%, largely due to decreased mortality in three main areas:

  1. Deaths and death rates from droughts, which were responsible for approximately 60% of cumulative deaths due to extreme weather events from 1900?2010, are more than 99.9% lower than in the 1920s.
  2. Deaths and death rates for floods, responsible for over 30% of cumulative extreme weather deaths, have declined by over 98% since the 1930s.
  3. Deaths and death rates for storms (i.e. hurricanes, cyclones, tornados, typhoons), responsible for around 7% of extreme weather deaths from 1900?2008, declined by more than 55% since the 1970s.
To put the public health impact of extreme weather events into context, cumulatively they now contribute only 0.07% to global mortality. Mortality from extreme weather events has declined even as all-cause mortality has increased, indicating that humanity is coping better with extreme weather events than it is with far more important health and safety problems.

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