The weather is becoming increasingly dangerous, with the past 20 years bringing almost twice as many natural disasters as the two decades before.
Image Credit: John Middelkoop / Unsplash
Rising temperatures are leading to more frequent and more severe extreme weather events of a range of different types. One of the key tools in predicting these disasters and proactively saving lives lies in meteorological monitoring.
Natural disasters come in many forms, including floods, storms, earthquakes, wildfires and droughts. Other than earthquakes, all these phenomena are linked to the climate.
A study conducted by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) highlighted that extreme weather events are becoming more common, leading to more deaths and increased damage to the environment and infrastructure.
A total of 7,348 natural disasters were recorded globally between 2000 and 2019, in comparison with the 4,212 natural disasters recorded between 1980 and 1999.
These figures have been collated via the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) – a database of over 24,000 technological and natural hazard-related incidents from 1900 to the present day.
Differences Between a Hazard and a Disaster
The authors of the UNDRR report define a natural hazard as an extreme or severe event such as a flood, storm, drought or heatwave. EM-DAT defines a disaster as a natural hazard that meets at least one of several criteria:
- Ten or more people die
- 100 or more people are impacted
- A state of emergency is declared
There are two key factors causing the dramatic increase in these disasters: global temperatures are rising, having an adverse effect on weather and the climate, and dense, continually growing populations are living in areas prone to adverse weather and other hazards.
For example, a study by CoreLogic, quoted in a CNCB article, revealed that in the United States, one in three houses was found to be at high risk from a natural disaster.
Meteorological and Hydrological Disasters
Despite significant regional differences in terms of their geological and climatological properties, meteorological and hydrological events represent the most frequently encountered types of disaster in every area of the globe.
Floods (44%) and storms (28%) accounted for almost three-quarters of all recorded natural disasters between 2000 and 2019, prompting the UNDRR to advise regions to heavily invest in accurate weather forecasting and flood warning systems.
These systems are vital in protecting vulnerable populations worldwide, with the report pointing out that they offered the potential to save thousands of lives.
Environmental monitoring system providers like OTT HydroMet are at the forefront of this increasingly important application area.
The company is continuing its work to develop more comprehensive solutions in the future, ranging from multi-parameter stations to advanced communication techniques and innovative software solutions.
Victor Cassella – Sales Manager for OTT HydroMet and an experienced meteorologist – highlights this demand for accurate meteorological monitoring:
The need for environmental data to the general public is increasing. We’ve seen tons of crazy weather in 2020 with forest fires, heatwaves, tornadoes, hurricanes. This is where we come into play.
Victor Cassella, Sales Manager, OTT HydroMet
Extreme weather events continue to represent one of the most pressing concerns and rapidly growing areas of the meteorological industry.
Produced from materials originally authored by Martin Maly from OTT Hydromet.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by OTT HydroMet - Meteorology.
For more information on this source, please visit OTT HydroMet - Meteorology.