Natural disaster – an event that occurs naturally and causes huge loss of life or damage. Many natural disasters and their effects such as scorching heat, heavy downpours, hazy skies and contaminated water are growing catastrophic, and their far-reaching consequences have harmed people and the wildlife, because of the changing climate. Climate change is endangering the survival of one million species of flora and fauna all over the world. The major reason for climate change is anthropogenic activities. Since the global surface temperature is increasing, it’s causing additional changes in climate that can accelerate and intensify natural hazards exposing risks to both humans and species.

1. How Does Climate Change Worsen Extreme Heatwaves?

One of the most direct indicators of climate change is the rise in the average global temperature. Extreme heatwaves are anticipated to become more severe, frequent and longer as heat-trapping emissions become more concentrated in the atmosphere and the temperatures rise. When heat waves are mixed with humidity they become much more deadly. The heat index is a metric that measures the combination of temperature and humidity. The US national weather servicemeasures extreme heat waves using the heat index. If we talk about it in comparison to the end of the twentieth century, the latest analysis conducted predicts that yearly days with a heat index above 100 degrees F will double and days with a heat index exceeding 105 degrees F would quadruple. Humans, the environment and the economy are all at risk as a result of increasing temperature.

Threats Caused By Extreme Heat

High humidity and rising temperature can cause heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses. The Billion-Dollar Weather Disasters database compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lists heat waves as six of the top 10 deadliest U.S. disasters since 1980. Not just health, high temperatures can be hazardous to agriculture. Heatwaves intensify droughts and wildfires which creates adverse effects on the agriculture sector.

How To Build Resilience To Extreme Heat?

Education and awareness should be the core of every change.

  • Outreach helps to ensure the safety of people in urban areas during heat waves.
  • Tree plantation to cool the air and provide shade.
  • Cool and green roofs and cool pavement can be installed to reduce the urban heat island effect.
  • For the vulnerable community, particularly low-income areas, community cooling centers can be provided.

2. How Does Climate Change Make Hurricanes Worse?

Warm water provides the energy that fuels hurricanes and rising ocean temperatures are a consequence of climate change. When temperature increases, evaporation rises, so do the heat transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere. Storms draw in more water vapour and heat as they pass through the warm oceans which results in heavy downpours, strong winds and floods. With the warming of the surface temperature of water, sea level rises, which will probably make hurricanes and coastal storms more catastrophic.

Threats Caused By Hurricane

Public health and human lives are hampered by stronger hurricanes. The disruption to water and power systems including damages to buildings, infrastructure, energy systems, transportation and more importantly the vulnerable population, brings damage and harm to society, environment and economy.

How To Build Resilience?

  • Coastal wetlands, corals etc must be preserved to absorb storm surge.
  • To reduce flood damage, vulnerable buildings must be upgraded.
  • To ensure flood insurance for the vulnerable residents that have had frequent low hurricanes.

3. Climate Change And Drought

Drought is defined as a lack of precipitation for a long period of time resulting in water scarcity. When the temperature increases it enhances evaporation, which reduces surface water. This results in drier soil and vegetation. As we know, climate change is unpredictable, warmer temperature increases precipitation, which means both extreme precipitation and drought will be experienced. This creates an urgency for water storage during droughts and also the extreme risk of flooding during intense precipitation.

Threats Posed By Drought

Communities may lack water for their household chores including drinking, cooking, agriculture, transportation and generating power. A condition of social unrest, migration and famine can occur in countries facing food insecurity as drought affects livestock and crops. It raises a major concern in the reliability of electricity as hydroelectric power might not be available.

How To Build Resilience?

We cannot control a natural disaster, but we can always take up measures to prevent it. As water is an essential element of life we must practise and promote water conservation.

Farmers should be encouraged to plant drought-resistant crops.

Using solar energy and increasing energy efficiency can help improve resilience to drought.

All these measures can help reduce greenhouse emissions which ultimately will solve the problem of climate change.

4. Flood And Climate Change

Heavy precipitation occurs when the atmosphere is warmer. For example, as the United States has heated up to an average of 18 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, it has also become 4 percent wetter. Basically increasing global warming causes evaporation of water which results in rising annual rain and snow. Also, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture thus increasing the intensity of rainfall. All of these result in flooding. It has a devastating impact on social, environmental and economical factors.

Threats Posed By Drought

Floods can lead to contamination of water that might create water shortages, which is already a climate change problem, this makes the situation even worse. Also, flood causes huge loss and damage to property and exposes humans to water-borne illness and infections. It also destroys wildlife habitats and the natural environment.

How To Build Resilience?

Creating flood plains, can hold and absorb water protecting the human settlements from excessive rainfall.

Not only will effectively communicating early warnings of impending storms and floods allow people to be responsible for averting loss of property but will also protect their lives.

As long as we plan to understand climate change and take action against it, we can solve many catastrophic events like such.

5. Wildfires Made Worse By Climate Change

Changes in climate raise the potential and extent of wildfire. Warmer temperature, soil moisture and the drying of organic matter in the forest are a few factors that wildfire risks are dependent on. Which are directly linked to climate variability and change. Changes in the climate create warmer and drier conditions which increase the risk of drought and ignition of fire in the forests leading to wildfire risk. Every year, we learn about wildfire spread and damage in different parts of the world, which is an effect of climate change.

How To Build Resilience?

Identifying the areas where wildfires occur the most and discouraging developments near fire-prone forests.

Removing dead trees from forests.

To avoid erosion, restrict floods, and minimize habitat destruction, rehabilitation strategies should be developed before a fire and implemented soon afterwards.

Natural Disaster Data

If we look at the average over the past decade, approximately 60,000 people globally died from natural disasters each year. This represents 0.1% of global deaths. High impact disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes are unavoidable, but large-scale human casualties can be avoided.

Early catastrophe detection, more resilient infrastructure and emergency planning have resulted in fewer disaster death globally.

natural disasters data

Climate change, exacerbated by intensifying natural hazards, is one of the most serious dangers to human populations and the long term preservation of wildlife.

Policymakers and authorities must implement practical and effective ways to limit the effects of global warming by lowering greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible and guaranteeing that animals and ecological habitats can adapt and build resilience to unavoidable impacts.

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