Billion-dollar weather disasters are getting more common

This article discusses the impact of climate change on weather. Droughts, wildfires, and floods are expected to get worse because of climate change.

In the U.S. last year, 16 weather-related disasters – including hurricanes, wildfires, and floods – each caused at least a billion dollars in damage.

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been tracking the cost of weather-related events for nearly 40 years. In that time, no year has seen more billion-dollar disasters than 2017, even after adjusting for inflation. But it was not an outlier. On average, these events are getting more frequent. Eight of the nine years with the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters have occurred within the past decade.

NOAA climatologist Adam Smith says that droughts, wildfires and inland floods are expected to get more severe. And with sea-level rise and more extreme storms, coastal areas are increasingly vulnerable. “Climate change is playing a role in increasing the frequency and intensity of some types of these extreme weather events and climate events that lead to billion-dollar disasters.”

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