2021 has been another catastrophic and deadly year for weather and climate disasters in the United States, federal scientists said on Monday. There have been 20 separate disasters that each cost at least $ 1 billion in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported.
Overall, the cost of the disaster in the United States for 2021 exceeded $ 145 billion, the third highest cost on record.
It was also a deadly year: at least 688 Americans died in disasters. This is the highest number of disaster-related deaths for the contiguous United States since 2011 and more than double the number of 262 last year.
The deaths were mainly the result of the extreme summer heat in the Pacific Northwest, extreme cold in the south during the February frost, Hurricane Ida in many states, and the December tornado outbreak in the south, according to NOAA.
The 20 events mark the second-highest total on record, two events falling short of the record 22 events in 2020, NOAA said.
WEATHER DISASTERS IN 2021: How the weather hit the United States in 2021.
The disasters of 2021 include eight severe weather events, four tropical cyclones, three tornado outbreaks, two floods, one drought / heat wave event, one winter storm / cold snap, and one wildfire, which includes the devastating fire. from Marshall on December 30 in Boulder County, Colorado.
“It has been a difficult year. Climate change has taken a canonical approach to dangers across the country, ”said NOAA climatologist and economist Adam Smith, who compiles billion dollar weather disasters for NOAA.
Scientists have long said that human-caused climate change makes extreme weather conditions more unpleasant and more frequent, documenting numerous links to wild and deadly weather events.
Some experts not affiliated with the report also blame climate change for the severity of the year’s weather disasters: Union of Concerned Scientists. “This report highlights the reality of how the climate crisis is already affecting people’s lives and the economy, with every region of the country having been affected. ”
Jonathan Overpeck, dean of environmental studies at the University of Michigan, who was not part of the NOAA report, said: waves, droughts, wildfires, intense rainfall, flooding and more severe storms , destructive and deadly. “
Although 2020 set the record for the most billion dollar disasters, in 2021 “the extremes seemed a little deeper than in 2020,” Smith said.
NOAA released its 2021 climate report for the nation on Monday, which showed the fourth warmest year on record.
Several cities had their warmest years, including Akron, Ohio; Baltimore; Bismarck, North Dakota; Boston; Buffalo, New York; Erie, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee; Montpellier, Vermont; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and Toledo, Ohio.
An incredibly hot December – the hottest on record in the United States – ended the year, NOAA said.
Also on Monday, a report from the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm, said that in 2021, U.S. heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions rebounded from the first year of the pandemic at a faster rate than the economy as a whole, making it more difficult to meet the country’s commitment to the world to halve its emissions from 2005 by 2030.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal have caused global temperatures to rise to levels that cannot be explained by natural causes, scientists say.
Contribution: The Associated Press