This year has been a mess. With the Japan March 11 quake and tsunami, the record year for tornadoes in the US and flooding all over no wonder this is the costliest year on record according to re-insurers and Discovery News.
No doubt that the Japan quake was very expensive, and so were the floods and other disasters, but was there more disasters this year then previous years or just bigger more expensive ones? Well considering that the Japan quake was larger than all but 4 other quakes in recorded history and the tsunami destroyed so many towns so completely it alone was more costly then most years and it was just one disaster.
But take the earthquakes for instance, there have not been any more than normal, even with all of the aftershocks from the Japan Quake, the quakes in Indonesia, New Zealand, Chili and Alaska which have all had large quakes, but they always have large quakes. The main reason for the increase in cost has been that these large disasters have all been well aimed directly at moderately inhabited human settlements. Imagine how much worse it would have been if the tsunami had been aimed at Tokyo or Manhattan or Shanghai.
And yet the loss of life, while high, Japan is still reeling from the loss of life in the tsunami, it has not been a record year and probably won’t be. We wish that there was none, but realize that it happens and the best we can do is learn from it and hopefully be able to make the loss of life as low as possible.
As these natural disasters are not done yet and we have a half year ahead of us yet it will be interesting and scary to see how high the cost of the costliest natural disaster year ever finally costs.
- 2011 already costliest year for natural disasters (msnbc.msn.com)
- Japan quake changes our understanding of quakes (echlinm.wordpress.com)
- Java Trench (Indonesia) analysis (echlinm.wordpress.com)
- Focus on the Kermadec Trench (echlinm.wordpress.com)