Natural disasters (again)

Though of course by “natural” we’re thinking of with-a-human-contribution. My text is taken from the book of Grauniad:

On Friday a team of researchers in Boston calculated that even with only a 2C rise, summer temperatures now regarded as “extreme” will become normal. This is the second such warning from the US this summer. Europeans in 2003 and Russians in 2010 had lethal experience of heat waves. … Munich Re predicted that 2011 – on the evidence of the first six months alone – will be the costliest year ever for disasters triggered by natural hazard. Total global losses by June had reached $265bn, far outstripping the $220bn record set for the whole of 2005.

But without directly taking a position on the vexed issue of how natural disasters have increased due to GW, it is clear that the Grauniad is talking bollocks. Or rather, it is clear that while what they say is literally true, it is deeply misleading. Consider this slide from the Munich Re report:


So, that is at least $40 billion in unexpected-earthquake (insured) losses, or $230 billion in overall losses. And if you compare that with page 29 on the same report, you see that 2005 was ~$250B (not sure why the Grauniad says $220B, perhaps different to-date adjustment). So the “not including earthquake” losses for 2011 are “only” ~$40B. Note that the Indonesian tsunami was 2004, but December 26th, so might have bled into 2005; but anyway according to p37 wasn’t very expensive – presumably because of where it occurred. Katrina was the big cost in 2005. The Spring 2011 tornado season in the US looks to have been costly, in comparison to other tornado seasons.

Incidentally, if you scroll down further you get various financial bits, which I don’t understand. p58 shows that underwriting capacity is at an all time high, which is presumably good.

h/t Timmy.


* Bootleggers, Baptists, and the Global Warming Battle